As you know, I have an interest, maybe even a passion for, a genus of plants called Cullens. The species I have painted grow in outback New South Wales, where the rainfall can be very variable. Like all semi-arid plants they are very opportunistic when it comes to water. I am not sure what the rainfall has been this year, but it must have suited the Cullens, because they are at their showy best.
I mentioned in the last post how Cullen australasicum grows on the side of the road. C. discolor is not as showy, but grows determinedly along the ground. Small plants were growing in lots of places.
But the most amazing were the C. pallidum plants.
These lush bushes were growing at the boat launching ramp at Sunset Strip, a little cluster of houses at one end of Lake Menindee. There is very little water in the lake this year, so there is no way that boats could be launched. The sandy beach extends way out, and it is in this sand that C. pallidum loves to grow. It is flourishing here, with more little ones on the way.
The lack of water was quite a shock. I have not seen it so low. According to the locals the water has been taken out for use further down stream, some say for wetlands in South Australia.
Those of you outside of Australia may not know that the question of water in the Murray/Darling Basin, the main water system in Australia, and one that crosses through four of our States, is a very vexed one. It is used for irrigation and other agricultural purposes, as well as water for many towns and cities, and, often at the bottom of the list, wetland preservation. There have been many attempts to work out equatable usage, but I fear that there is just too little and that a drop of water can only be stretched so far. Is our environment having to pay the price for our unsustainable practises?