Featherflowers and Grevilleas

Though I have photos of hundreds of flowers from the botany tour, I’m going to spare you from having to see them all. (Though I do hope you get to see them all in person someday.) But I thought I’d show you a couple more before moving on, out of the splendid wildflower fields of the southwest corner.

Among of the most stunning of the flowers we saw were the Verticordias, also known as featherflowers. It’s not hard to see how they got their common name, when you look at their delicately feathered blossoms (see the photo on the left, below). These flowers, which come in a wide range of colors, grow in luxuriant masses, like large, dense bouquets. They are a delight to the eye from a distance, but they are better appreciated up close, where you can see the feathery structure of the small blossoms.

The bright, red Grevillea on the right is just one of more than 300 species (some estimates top 360 species) of this flower. Though wild specimens are abundant, Grevilleas are widely cultivated, as well. Aside from being visually appealing, their abundant nectar attracts members of the large and diverse group of birds known as honeyeaters. (The nectar is so abundant, in fact, that some species of Grevilleas were traditionally gathered by Aborigines as a sweet treat.)

Grevilleas exist primarily in Australia, but can also be found in Papua New Guinea and a few other islands to Australia’s north. The plants occur in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and the flowers come in numerous colors: red, pink, orange, gold, white—and probably others I didn’t see. Grevilleas were named for Charles Francis Greville, who in 1804 helped found the Royal Horticultural Society.

Featherflower (Verticordia)

Featherflower (Verticordia)

Grevillea

Grevillea

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Filed under Australia, Book, Geography, History, Nature, Travel

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