Western Australia has a vast quantity of wildflower species. Each year, botanists find new species to add to the extensive number already recorded. As early as 1889, the eminent botanist Ferdinand Mueller had listed 3,560 species for the West Australian State. Chapman and Paczkowski in 2000 listed 9,640 vascular plants. Now there are well over 13,000 and rising with hundreds of new species awaiting classification.
The book, first published in 2006 and released last month in its third edition, has been designed as an introductory guide, geared to the layperson and not the professional botanist. It attempts to give the reader opportunities to understand and help identify visually the many and varied species that exist in the state, as well as a guide to where to find the ‘flora’ rich areas. With over 1,150 species illustrated there is ample reference material to assist the reader in identifying many of them.
The first chapter is an introduction to the types of families that exist in the region. It then gives a brief overview of plant structure, a brief section on growing native plants as well as a section on pollination. It also discusses the problems that affect our wildflowers and the importance of conservation as a means to preserving Western Australia’s unique flora.
The second chapter shows where to find some of the wildflowers and the best time of year to see them. It contains maps to aid travel planning and highlights some of the ‘flora rich’ areas. It also mentions possible places to stop, look and find particular plants.
The third chapter and by far the largest section of this guidebook, contains photographs of over 1,150 plant species. It also contains detailed sketch maps of selected reserves and parks to visit. The chapter has been divided into three primary botanical provinces that are confined to Western Australia: the South West Botanical Province, which includes Perth and the Esperance region; the Eremaean Province, which includes the Nullarbor, Mulga and Pilbara; and the Northern Botanical Province, which encompasses the entire Kimberley region.
Simon Neville and Nathan McQuoid have produced an informative and beautifully illustrated resource for anyone travelling to Western Australia to experience the wonder of the state’s wildflowers.
Main image by Renata Wright, Pixabay