The original vegetation of the area where Centennial Parklands now stands comprised coastal heaths, areas of swampy land, woodlands and forests. Much of the more open country was dominated by low, frequently burnt vegetation associations, including our iconic and highly endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub.
This vegetation type had a wide range of flowering shrubs and supported a community of nectar eating birds, marsupials, mammals and invertebrates.
One of the characteristic and beautiful species from this vegetation is the clustered Darwinia, or Darwinia fasicularis. It was first scientifically described in 1815 and is limited to the coastal fringe within the Sydney basin.
It is a small, dense shrub to 50cm high, with whorls of needle like, light green leaves. It bears clusters of beautiful white tubular flowers which turn bright red as they age.
Some of the birds and insects from Sydney are perfectly adapted to feed on these flowers, including the Eastern spinebill and the new Holland Honeyeater, both common birds of coastal heaths and the ESBS. These birds have thin, narrow beaks and long tongues to access the nectar deep in the flowers
Darwinia only grows on the sandy soils in the Sydney basin and is tolerant of low moisture and extremely low soil fertility. The plant is a beautiful addition to a coastal garden, but requires good drainage. It is very difficult to propagate from seed.
Many Australian natives are difficult to propagate, as many require specific environmental conditions including fire for their seeds to germinate. Fortunately this species can be propagated from cuttings and it is a popular species for gardens and the cut flower industry.
Where to see Variable Bossiaea in Centennial Parklands
If you are looking for it in the Parklands, at the moment our nursery is the best place to look, as we are planning an extensive planting of hundreds of these attractive and valuable habitat species in the areas of natural bush and habitat plantings such as the Small Bird Habitat and Bird Sanctuary through the Autumn and Winter.