Blandfordia grandiflora (Christmas Bell)
Christmas is fast approaching and it brings with it much joy, expectation and happiness.
There is always a special excitement about finding these quaint red and yellow-orange bell shaped flowers in the wild. The bells hang down in clusters of 3-10 pivoting on top of a tall straight stem, as they gently nod in the breeze. Their brilliant colours contrast with the surrounding green foliage.
Yes Christmas Bells can still be sighted in the bush around Berowra. They prefer damp, protected positions. They were once a common sight along the roadside between the Central Coast and the Kuring-gai Chase area. Unfortunately numbers have been reduced by indiscriminate picking. The Berowra area was well known for its magnificent variety of wildflowers including the delightful Christmas Bells. Margaret Preston had a great love for the local Berowra wildflowers as depicted in her art work.
My Grandfather and family lived right on the edge of Kuring-gai Chase up until 1912. I recall he used to tell us how they would collect bunches of Christmas Bells and Christmas Bush from the local bushland
(Kuring-gai Chase) at Christmas time and take them to the City Markets to sell. How times have changed!
Now days, Christmas Bells are a protected native species. Many native wildflowers, namely Christmas Bells, are grown commercially and exported or sold locally. Today we have National Parks and other areas set aside for the preservation of native fauna and flora eg. Muogamarra Nature Reserve.
Christmas Bells belong to the Family : Liliaceae The species that can be found locally are –
Blandfordia grandiflora and Blandfordia nobilis. With grandiflora the flowers are larger and spread into a bell shape whereas with nobilis flowers are smaller and more cylindrical. Both have 3 petals and 3 sepals.
PHOTOS are taken in the bushland around Berowra and Berowra Heights. Most plants are off the beaten track and in a well-protected position eg. in a rock crevice or next to a sandstone wall.
LOOK but don’t touch!