Author Archives: bushweb

How Plants Respond to Change: community monitoring program

We are interested to hear from you if:

  • you have rare plants (either Threatened species or ROTAPs) in your local Bushcare patch or near where you live;
  • there is a hazard reduction burn scheduled for an area where you are working;
  • your Bushcare patch has experienced high frequency or severity fires; or
  • you are a keen walker and botanist with an interest in what happens after bushfires.

We are currently writing the draft guidelines and are keen to involve locals with an interest in plants to contribute to improving the knowledge base for the conservation of plants in the Blue Mountains.

If you are interested in being involved, please send an email to Liz Tasker.

We will include more information about the guidelines in a future email bulletin and in Gecko.

Community conservation program review

Council is conducting a review of the Bushcare, Landcare, Streamwatch, Trackcare and Bush Backyards community conservation programs.

The reason for the review is to make sure that, together, we achieve the best possible outcomes for the community and conserving our environment.

The aim is not to reduce support for these programs but to look at how that support is provided in the future.

Council is interested to know what you think about the Community Conservation Program, such as:

  • What is working well?
  • What could be done better or differently?
  • What needs changing?
  • Are there any new issues which the current approach does not address?

Join the discussion

You are invited and encouraged to participate in the review. Have your say on the future of Council’s Community Conservation program, by visiting the Have Your Say website during the month of March 2013.

Alternatively, phone Linda Thomas on 4780 5612.

Fireweed or Fireweed Groundsel: weed or native?

The weedy Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) is often confused with the native locally found Fireweed Groundsel (Senecio linearifolius). Hopefully, the following information will reduce this confusion.

Differences between native and introduced species

The native species is up to 900mm higher than the weed species. Also the petals of the native species are shorter and fewer (8 or fewer, compared to 13) with much larger leaves that are conspicuously veined on the upper surface and the margins are fine, regularly toothed and recurved. The differences in the leaves are apparent in seedlings as well as mature plants.

Introduced Fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis)

Fireweed plant

Senecio madagascariensis (Fireweed)

Fireweed is a highly invasive and opportunistic weed native to SE Africa.


Fireweed is able to grow on most soil types and in all aspects. It forms a persistent seed bank if not controlled before flowering and can rapidly take over cleared areas. One plant is capable of producing 5,000 to 30,000 seeds in one season depending on conditions.


Fireweed is a daisy-like plant that grows from 100 to 600 mm high. It is usually a low, heavily branched, annual or short-lived perennial plant.

Leaves: Generally bright green, fleshy and narrow, 20–70 mm long, alternately arranged on the stem, with serrated, entire or lobed margins. Broader leaves usually clasp around the stem.

Fireweed flowers

Fireweed flowers

Flowers: Small, yellow and daisy-like, flowers are 10–20 mm in diameter and arranged in clusters at the end of each branch. Each flower has 13 petals and 21 bracts forming the ‘cup’ under the flower.

Seeds and dispersal: Seeds are small (1–3 mm long), light and slender. Most seed will fall within five metres of the parent plant but some seed can be spread to greater distances in updrafts and whirlwinds.

Native Fireweed Groundsel (Senecio linearifolius)


Native fireweed flowers

Native Fireweed flowers

Perennial herb or shrub 500–1500mm high, stems few-branched, glabrous to cobwebby.

Native fireweed leavesLeaves: variable, either linear or elliptic. Mostly linear to lanceolate or narrow-elliptic (oval and flat, broadest at middle and tapered at ends). 60–150 mm long and 5–15 mm wide with margins ± recurved and entire to sparsely toothed, lower surface mostly cobwebby, base tapered and petiole-like.

Flowers: throughout the year. The structures supporting the flowers arise at different points on the stem but, the flowers are at the same level resulting in a flat top arrangement. There are numerous cylindrical, 2–3 mm diameter flower heads that are glabrous except at the apex The seed is compressed, 2–2.5 mm long, brown, glabrous with a 5–8 mm long pappus.

All photos are from Plantnet

Frogs of the Upper Blue Mountains

On a cold Blackheath evening last October twelve bushcarers met near the Duckpond to learn about local frogs from Alan Lane. Unfortunately only two frogs were calling that night: the Common Eastern Froglet and the Eastern Pobblebonk.

However, Alan was able to show some wonderful photos of the ten or so most common Blue Mountains frogs – both mature and tadpoles — and play recordings of their calls. He described the interesting behaviour of each species, including the differing lengths of their life cycles.

Alan has completed a Masters degree in frog ecology, researching frogs in the upper Blue Mountains area.

Below is a list of the frogs discussed — and their calls — from Alan.

Common frogs of the Blue Mountains

Common NameScientific NameCall
Common Eastern FrogletCrinia signiferaA bit like a cricket: ‘crik, crik, crik’. Can be heard year round.
Eastern Pobblebonk or Banjo FrogLimnidynastes dumeriliiA resonant, musical ‘kplunk’
Striped Marsh FrogLimnodynastes peroniiA soft short call, like a tennis ball being hit: ‘pok pok’ or ‘wuk wuk’. Can be heard year round.
Laughing Frog or Emerald-spotted Tree FrogLitoria peroniiA harsh, rattling, downward-inflected cackle or laugh: ‘ackackackack’
Whirring Tree FrogLitoria verreauxiiA very penetrating, upward ‘weep weep weep’
Blue Mountains Tree FrogLitoria citropaSounds like a toy wooden horse galloping. Lots at Ingar Swamp, Kings Tableland.
Bleating Tree FrogLitoria dentateBleating call, almost painful in intensity and pitch; a bit like cicadas
Broad-footed Tree FrogLitoria latopalmataRapid ‘yapping’ or ‘quacking’. Calls from the edges of water bodies, e.g. dams.
Lesueur‘s FrogLitoria lesueuriSoft, purring call from near water. Common around rocky, flowing streams, e.g. Govett‘s Creek