East of Armidale there is a trio of world class National Parks. First we have Oxley Wild Rivers National Park then New England National Park and close by is Cathedral Rock National Park. A wide range of native plants are protected in these areas.
This time, we will describe some of the plants that you will see on a visit to Wollomombi Falls in Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. The view of Wollomombi Falls and surrounding gorge country, from the lookout platform is truly breathtaking. Try to tear yourself away from the view and have a look at the plants growing around the rim of the gorge.
Acacia diphylla and Acacia irrorata are tall wattles that are prominent in this area.
Acacia diphylla is an upright tree with glossy foliage. In October, plants become covered in bright yellow, rod-shaped clusters of flowers. At this time, plants have the appearance of tall columns of gold. The foliage as well as the flowers is an attractive feature.
Acacia diphylla would make a colourful avenue lining the entrance to a rural property. This wattle also has the potential as a street tree particularly where there are no overhead powerlines.
Acacia irrorata is a tall wattle with dark green, “ferny foliage” similar in appearance to the better-known Cootamundra wattle. Plants produce pale yellow flowers, in globular clusters, from summer to autumn. This is one of a few wattles that flower out of the normal spring flowering period. It is one of the dominant trees lining the road to the Wollomombi Falls parking area.
Acacia irrorata would be a useful addition to shelterbelts and windbreaks.
Westringia Wollomombi Falls is an outstanding small shrub that grows around the rim of the gorge. Small leaves are glossy and held in whorls of three around the stems. Purple flowers are carried throughout the year.
This westringia has adapted well to cultivation. If you are looking to plant a westringia, then this is one of the best.
Prostanthera iasianthos is a mint bush and is a close relative of the westringia mentioned above. This tall, upright shrub is another species from the rim of the gorge system. Leaves are long and broad, dark green and very aromatic when crushed. In summer plants produce numerous sprays of white flowers.
Prostanthera lasianthos could be grown beside a path so that the foliage perfume would be released as you brush past.
Further around the gorge system, near Apsley Falls, there is a solitary Prostanthera iasianthos with a pinkish tinge to the flowers.
Hakea eriantha is common throughout the gorges. This tall shrub has glossy, lance-like leaves and in spring the branches are covered with clusters of white flowers. They are similar in shape to grevillea blooms. The flowers are followed by large woody fruits. Each fruit holds two winged seeds.
There is a wealth of native plants growing around Wollomombi Falls with horticultural potential.