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A close look at purple pea flowers

Nature observations for fun and science

By Karen Retra, Wodonga Urban Landcare Network

Have you spotted the delightful purple flowers of Hardenbergia recently?

It is also known as purple coral pea, false sarsaparilla and happy wanderer, among other names.

Hardenbergia typically flowers in our region from mid-winter. Like several other species, some plants seemed to take an ‘early mark’ this year and have been seen flowering brightly for some weeks.

You’re likely to see them in gardens, parks, council plantings and nature reserves.  We’re interested to know when you see them flowering near you.

With the return of covid-19 restrictions, using your exercise time to get outdoors and pay attention to nature in your patch can provide both a physical and mental pick-me-up.

If you’re checking regularly you might note when flowering commences or finishes. Consider taking photos or notes to record what you find. Of course, you might be keen to make other nature observations, not just Hardenbergia.

We know that sharing photos and comments on social media is easy.

But did you know it’s also easy to share to sites where your nature observations can be verified and potentially be added to our national biodiversity database, the Atlas of Living Australia?

Yep, there’s even an app for that! Platforms including iNaturalistQuestagame and the new Albury Wodonga Nature Map are all free tools for this. They each have web-based and mobile app options.

You simply upload your photos, confirm the time and location of each sighting and make any comments you wish.

You can note the identity of the species if you know it. Or you can wait for other contributors to suggest more detail. It’s a great way to observe and learn about our local plants, animals and fungi.

Observations that meet certain criteria are added to the national atlas, where they can be accessed and used by researchers, decision-makers and anyone with an interest.

You might also like to look at the existing “records” for your patch. Have you seen those species yourself? Or maybe you have seen species that aren’t represented on the national database yet and would like to add them?

Keep an eye on the Wodonga Urban Landcare Network facebook page for upcoming opportunities to learn more about these various ‘citizen science’ tools and nature spotting tips.

A spray of purple flowers surrounded by wide green leaves sit in open bushland under a blue sky
Pretty purple patches popping up in our bushlands, photos K Retra.

A close look at purple pea flowers