CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA

The first solid clue comes at the caravan park in Mingenew in Western Australia’s wheat belt. Word gets around that the lady at the tourism info in the small town of Marowa, 60 kilometres away, could give details of a possible location of a very special plant. The chase is now on in earnest. From Mingenew it leads to Morawa and then on to Canna. Canna is not more than a grain silo along a train line, a few small houses and a Landmark store. CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 5 CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 6 CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 7 CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 4 There, next to a red telephone box, is a blackboard with the following information: Wreath Flowers – 1.6 + 6km N. on NE Canna Road (see map). Below the blackboard, tucked under an honesty jar, are photocopied mud maps. Thanks to the resident flower enthusiast Paul Offszanka, the search for a very elusive plant is nearing its end. True to the blackboard’s promise, marked by a white plastic barrel on the roadside, there they are: rings of delicate cream coloured flowers with blushed tips growing on the gravel shoulder of the road: wreath flowers or Lechenaultia macrantha. CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 9 CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 11 CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 12 CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 3 The wreath flower is a famous trophy flower, sought after by those who get their kicks by chasing rare and unusual plants. I’m one of them and Western Australia, during the wildflower season, is our heaven. Australia’s largest state boosts more than 12,000 species of wildflowers. More than 60 per cent of these plants are found nowhere else in the world. The elusive ring-shaped Leschenaultia is one of them. The challenge for flower chasers is not just to find one. It is also to get the timing right: Its flowering season varies from just one to at best four weeks. CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 8 The interest in wildflowers, like the interest in birds, is very tribal. Hardcore amateur botanists flock to WA every year during the wildflower season. They tour the countryside in coaches, caravans, 4WDs and campervans in search of rare and unusual wildflowers. At caravan parks, local information centres, pubs and cafes, locations of exciting plant sightings are exchanged, information on the stages of bloom are constantly updated, hot tips are whispered in conspiratorial tones to those who identify themselves as part of the tribe. Welcome to the world of the flower chasers. CHASING FLOWERS IN AUSTRALIA 10 The magic word for flower chasers is biodiversity and Western Australia has some of the world’s most amazing biodiversity hotspots.

The complete story was originally published in Australian Country issue 19.8. Click here to subscribe to our magazine.

Click here for more escape stories.

Words and Photography Don Fuchs

More Like This

Indoor Lounge & Sofa Collections by Vincent Sheppard

Cotswold Furniture: Indoor Lounge & Sofa Collections by Vincent Sheppard

Timeless design classics: soft lines, amazing seating comfort and a focus on the elegant Lloyd Loom material. Lloyd Loom pieces made […]

Bobbie the Bridestowe Lavender Bear

“Bobbie”, the iconic microwaveable bear from Bridestowe Estate, was created in 2009 in response to market research which showed there was […]

Return to Roots with Janelle Marsden

When Janelle Marsden graduated from high school in Wangaratta and high-tailed it to Melbourne to study architecture, she never imagined she’d […]

Nectre's Australian Made Wood Fire Heaters

Nectre’s Australian Made Wood Fire Heaters

Nectre’s Australian Made Form 2 wood fire has been designed to suit the modern Australian. It is not only clean and […]

Selecting the Right Rose for your garden

Roses – How to select the perfect one for your garden

Roses are a beautiful addition to your garden, easy to grow and remarkably tolerant. However, with a little extra care and attention […]

Victoria's Great Ocean Road Delivers Dramatic Landscapes and History

Coasting Along: Victoria’s Great Ocean Road Delivers Dramatic Landscapes and History

Stand close to almost any cliff on the Great Ocean Road, and you appreciate the perils of the shipwreck coast, serrated […]

The Great Ocean Road’s Greatest Stays

The Great Ocean Road’s Greatest Stays

The Great Ocean Road is famous for the 12 Apostles and iconic rugged coastline, but there’s a whole lot more to […]

Pilbara Progression: A road-trip along the Pilbara Coast reveals surprises at every turn

Pilbara Progression: A road-trip along the Pilbara Coast reveals surprises at every turn

A road-trip along the Pilbara Coast reveals surprises at every turn. It is dawn on ANZAC Day in Onslow, Western Australia […]

Follow Us on Instagram