Pink-Bells (Tetratheca ciliata)

A relative of the Black-Eyed Susan, which  grows in New South Wales, the Pink-Bells flower is very beautiful.   Usually blooming in Spring, the couple of flowers I photographed were very early.  I wasn’t the only one who liked them.  When I went back today to check on their progress, I noticed they had been neatly bitten off – presumably by a Swamp Wallaby, but it could also have been a possum. The unopened buds were also gone.

If it had been left alone, the bell-shaped flower would have continued to open, to the extent where the petals parted and it began to resemble a flatter shaped flower.  The dark centre of the flower is only visible from beneath.

Pink-Bells only grows in a couple of locations on our property.  It seems to be found in the same locations as the larger Bush-pea plants.  Whether this is a coincidence or not, I can’t say.  In any case, I’ve only found two plants large enough to notice.  They seem to send out long lanky stems covered in leaves, and the buds appear along the stem in between the leaves.  According to my field guide the plant can grow to one meter high, but I’ve only ever seen a plant 30-50 cm high. Hopefully, I will see more of these beautiful flowers in Spring.

The Pink-bells flower can vary in colour from pink through to lilac or red. Ours look slightly lilac.
The dark centre of the flower is hidden most of the time because of the way the flowers droop – unless you happen to be a tiny mammal or bird.

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