Saturday, September 27, 2014

Foraging Fun - Forest Candles

I have developed a love of foraging!  Often, I'll be driving along the road and a plant will catch my eye but I'm usually on my way somewhere with a car full of kids,  and can't stop.   So reecently I went for a drive with the intention of wandering and discovering,  and was rewarded by finding this gorgeous flower.  It really caught my eye, being so bright among the other native shrubs growing beside the road.  

Forest Candles - Stackhousia Monogyna
 Closer inspection revealed a plant that grows from a central mass with many stems, all tipped with clusters of flowers.  I cut a generous bunch to bring home!

My trusty "Flowers and Plants of Tasmania" tells me this beauty is Stackhousia Monogyna or Forest Candles, a perenial herb.  It grows in heaths and open forests from sea level to alpine regions.  These were found in heath beside a country road near the coast here on the Tasman Peninsula.  They grow up to 60cm and have a pretty perfume as night falls.

Further research reveals that Forest Candles, whilst widespread across all states of Australia except the Northern Territory, is not well known and rarely cultivated.  It flowers in spring and summer when, as its name suggests, it stands out brightly amongst the other vegetation.  

I am really quite blown away by the beauty of these "Forest Candles".  And it has certainly encouraged my foraging tendencies.  Prepare for future foraging finds!!

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