A West Head walk

“Now that’s a pine-leaved Geebung, over there.”

Persoonia pinifolia?”

“Yes, isn’t it marvellous?”


And you can well understand that neither of those people talking was me. I’ve never laid eyes on a Geebung shrub before. But with keen Australian wildflower enthusiasts beside me, I learned more in a two hour walk at West Head than I would have in a week of reading.

I’ve never walked the Waratah Track at West Head before. But being in Sydney, I joined in with Jan’s weekly walking group. And four of us – Jan, Jan, Cynthia and me headed of for a morning’s walk hunting waratahs.

To the uninitiated…


But that was the only flowering example we spotted.  The rest of the waratah shrubs were small in stature and not flowering owing to the plants closest the wide sandy trail being control burnt a few years back.


Bushfire territory. Bushflowers.  It’s funny but if you looked at the vista of plants in front, a first reaction is – not much there. But go closer and when you spot one plant you actually recognise – the Grevillea sericea (Pink spider flower) for example, you realize there are a dozen plants crammed nearby.

Kunzia. They were new to me.  Little mauve buttons on the plants.  They are also called tick bush. But I’m sticking to Latin as I am in tick suffering mode right now.

Talk about out of practice. Everyone knows that if you find a tick embedded in your skin you don’t try and dig it out. The poison stays behind. You are meant to do the Australian thing and zap the critter with a freeze drying product like Wart Off. The tick dies and doesn’t leave behind its booby trap of toxin.


So I forgot. And found out and grabbed it without thinking. And I’m paying for it with the constant reminder that the wildlife here can be very painful. Itchy too.

I had to copy an image for the kunzia. We weren’t in optimal photography walking mode. It was hot, overhead sunlight and everything can really blend in the bush.

You can see some next to the geebung in the first picture.

The isopogons (drumstick flowers) are the same.

Isopogon - Wikipedia

Great yellow blobs on vivid green shrubs. But can I find a good example for you?


Here’s one from Jan’s garden instead. In the background. (Hopefully Jan or Cynthia will see this one and tell me what it is. I fear I have forgotten.)

[These two plants in my garden are hybrid varieties – the drumsticks is Isopogon anemonifolius (dwarf selection) and the foreground plant is Pimelea ferruginea (snowball). Jan]

We didn’t do the whole 4kms there 4kms back owing to the heat and recalcitrant knees. But it was a perfect slice of Sydney wildlife.