Monday, 11 February 2008

Hartz Peak - 11th February 2008

Mountain Rocket flower (Bellendena montana), Hartz Mountains - 11th February 2008Yes, sadly, another Hartz Peak climb (Map here). I had hoped for a nice sunrise morning on the plateau, perhaps with a quick clamber to the summit to see the view. Mmmm. What sunrise? What view? Shouldn't complain. The cloud was restful, the drizzle was light (if horizontal), and the wind wasn't as strong as it could have been. So, no view, no sunrise to photograph, and the wind made it very difficult to get nice close-ups of some of the attractive plants. There was only one thing for it; climb to the top. Actually, I did enjoy being on my own on this long weekend. This was an early-ish walk, setting out at 7am. One of the ladies heading up the hill as I arrived back at the start assumed I had abandoned the attempt. I think I was a little obscure in my response. The sign says it's a 4 hour walk, and used to say 5 hours, so maybe that's a reasonable assumption at 10am.

Mountain Rocket fruits (Bellendena montana), Hartz Mountains - 11th February 2008The Mountain Rocket (Bellendena montana) is just turning from its flower phase (above, and earlier, properly in flower) to its fruit phase (right). The fruit takes over from the flowers, and is very distinctive, flattened and hanging down, the resulting shape giving rise to the common name.

Mountain Pepper, Tasmannia lanceolata, Hartz Mountains - 11th February 2008Actually I was taken by the appearance of the leaves on this plant, especially with the water droplets. I'm pretty sure it's the Mountain Pepper (Tasmannia lanceolata). The fruits, and I think the dried leaves as well, are now used as premium food seasonings. To quote from "Wildflowers of Tasmania" (King and Burns, 1986) "Tradition has it that the berries were used by early settlers as a substitute for pepper, and the practice still persists in feeding the leaves to unsuspecting strangers under the pretence that they are delicious." Who knows!

Lomatia polymorpha, Hartz Mountains - 11th February 2008Now this one took me a while, but I think it's Lomatia polymorpha. I'm sure it's a Lomatia, but picking between the various pictures of L. polymorpha and L. tinctoria was a bit tricky. Apparently it's widespread on mountains and flowers in January. Check! The leaves also vary in shape to trick amateur botanists.

Dwarf Leatherwood, Eucryphia milliganii, Hartz Mountains - 11th February 2008I think this last one is the Dwarf Leatherwood, Eucryphia milliganii. Interesting historical fact: "The name 'leatherwood' was originally given to Acradenia franklinii, possibly on account of the toughness of its wood, but by 1903 was being transferred to the Eucryphias, which produce honey". ((King & Burns, 1986)


Peter Franklin said...

Interesting about the weather, we went up Mt Wellington on Monday, not as early a start as you (about 8:30 though) and the weather was a delight. Just shows how it can be so different just a bit further south.

By the way, I am confident you are correct in stating that the flower is Lomatia.

Mark said...

Well it's my own fault, I even checked the observations at Keoghs Pimple before I left, and they said the apparent temperature was around zero, and the wind was gusting to 35 knots. I hoped it would change, and in truth it wasn't that bad, just not bright and sunny. My wife sent me a text saying, and I quote: "Bet it's good up there. Good day here too." So it was nice enough in Huonville.