In the beginning of 2016, there was a massive fire that swept over thousands of acres of land near Cervantes. In fact, it was this fire that forced us to make an unexpected and most adventurous detour to get to Cervantes. In the process we saw places we would not necessarily see #bonus.
On our return later this year, we noticed a sea of Balga’s that had a prolific flowering stem. The scientific name for the Balga tree is Xanthorrhoea preissii Endl. The aboriginals have been using parts of the Balga for centuries for
To see so many with a flowering stem was amazing. And instantly we deducted that the fire must have had something to do with this phenomena.
After some research I found that the Balga is resistant to fire. In fact, fire causes the plants to flower which is why we were seeing a sea of flowering Balga’s over the coastal region near Cervantes.
Balga, which is classified as a non-threatened plant, can withstand the harshest of climate (of course) and offer foliage to insects, birds and mammals. Having been in Western Australia for a while, this was the first time I had seen such an amazing sight.
With a closer inspection, I saw the stem looked like it had a soft white-like exterior. Keeping simple rules in check, I observed with camera and eyes. I did not want to damage the plant by touching it or it damaging me. As it turned out, the Aboriginals would cut this section off to make a sugary energy drink…so touching it may not have been as harmful as I initially thought.
The best time to see this phenomena is a few months after a fire. As it turned out, the vegetation in this area recovered very quickly and apart from the black outer ‘crust’ on the Balga’s, one could hardly see evidence that a fire in this region just over 10 months ago.
Tips to See a Flowering Balga:
- Visit a region where the was a flower a few month prior to your visit.
- Make sure this region has Balga’s. Balga’s are a coastal plant so you will see more in this region.
- Always think of preservation. While Balga’s are not a threatened species, touching it or take parts of it, will not preserve the ecosystem of this area. Besides, these plants are on private or national land, and it is unlawful to remove any part of them.
- Of course take your camera and enjoy the scenery!
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