“We have found your yellow flower!” The shout came from the men at the rear of the walking group in the Ulladulla Wildflower Reserve on 1 December 2019.
“Looks like a Dandy Lion,” said one man with an English accent.
“Definitely not a Dandy Lion; only has six petals,” claimed another deep voice.
The leader was relieved at that comment, because the Reserve is one of the few public places where there are no weeds. This is amazing considering how close it is to private gardens, many of which have an alarming display of weeds.
Everyone looked at the beautiful flower, bobbing about on its long, slender stem. It was indeed about the size of a Dandy Lion, but the colour was deeper, a wonderful gold. The six petals were precisely arranged, with sixty degrees between each centre line. The six stamens lined up with the middle of each petal. A truly precise flower!
We were looking at a perfect specimen of the Golden Weather Grass or Hypoxis hygrometrica. It belongs in the Lily Family which has over 200 species native to Australia, including our Christmas Bells. The Hypoxis genus has about 150 species found in America, Africa, Asia and Australia. It is an “A” plant!
In Australia there are approximately ten species spread across all of our states. Our golden beauty pops up in all the eastern states. It is sometimes called ‘Yellow Stars’.
The hygrometrica part of its name reflects the fact that the flowers change shape depending on the weather. If it is dry, the long fine hairs which cover the plant twist, and when it is moist, they uncoil again. Our photo is definitely the twisted version as we all endure these very dry conditions.
The final comment by one of our male walkers was very apt, “Natural perfection!”