by Paul Alessi
Slender Bitter-pea (Daviesia leptophylla)
Despite the drought many of the natives are flowering well, this one (Slender Bitter-pea) favours skeletal soils on hillslopes and hilltops, it is one of five species of bitter pea that you can find in Windellama but definitely the most common, most times of the year you wouldn't even notice this plant in the bush but certainly worth a second look at flowering, being a pea flower means it is also a legume and so enhances the soil by bringing valuable Nitrogen in.
I've seen large areas of Narrow Leaf Bitter Pea roots that have been dug up by animals, either Wombats or Echidnas most likely, so they must also get some benefit out of the roots. Early settlers used the leaves from the broader leafed Hop Bitter-pea ( Daviesia latifolia) in beer making and a preparation of the leaves is said to be good for treating fevers, I'll try and get a picture of this one soon, there are a few small patches of this one in Windellama.
Although a very common and widespread plant throughout the higher areas of NSW and Victoria there is very little information on Daviesia leptophylla online, it used to go by the botanical name of Daviesia virgata and if you have older text books it will be there under that name. The seed pods are roughly purse shaped and rattle loudly when ripe.
Progress report on Dell the Koala
In the last Wild Windellama we had the story of Dell the sick Koala rescued in Windellama, he spent 3 weeks in veterinary care in Goulburn, each day he would have an injection to treat his Clamydia infection and then would have cream put in his eyes to help with their recovery. He would bellow out a hello to his carer each morning and sharing a room with cats and dogs must have been quite novel for him. He also loved to drink from a spray bottle and it was amazing to see his small soft tongue darting in and out licking the water from the gum leaves, he also drank straight water from bowl so that ends the theory about Koalas never drinking
We kept up the meals on wheels of Windellama gum leaves to the Goulburn Vets until he was transferred to the Wildlife Health and Conservation Centre at the University Of Sydney in Camden, here he has been thouroughly examined during a general anaethsthetic and the damage to his retinas assessed, highly skilled Koala experts are trying new methods on Dell in an effort to give him back as much sight in at least one eye as possible, it is hoped he will be able to be released back into the bush in Windellama soon.
Copyright Paul Alessi 2007
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