Why should you care about wildflowers?
When you live in Western Australia, you’ll come across wildflowers at some point. Why? Well, because WA is pretty good at wildflowers. In fact, there are more wildflower species in West Australia than anywhere else in the world – more than 12,000 to be exact.
They can also be pretty spectacular – and not just close up. As this display captured by Alan Milles shows, wildflowers do very well as a team and are quite a sight to behold from a distance.
But what exactly is a wildflower?
By definition, a wildflower is “any flower that grows without human involvement”, meaning these little blooms can survive without us tending to them with regular watering or doses of plant-food. How’s that for resilience?
What’s the difference between a wildflower and a weed?
The jury seems to be out on this one. A weed is generally defined as a plant that requires a form of action to reduce its influence on its environment. Weeds spread well, colonize, and persist in an ecosystem where they did not previously exist. Wildflowers are similar in that they spread well and live in ecosystems where they didn’t previously exist, but they are different in that they only appear in very specific seasons., So, while the difference between them is quite minimal, one could argue that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Use wildflowers as an excuse to see your state
With the world’s largest selection of wildflowers at your doorstep, this is a great excuse to get out and explore WA. The Western Australian visitor centre wildflower tracker has confirmed sightings all over the place and there are well worn wildflower trails all the way from Port Hedland to Esperance.
It’s important a few rules are followed to ensure WA retains its status as the number 1 wildflower destination in the world:
- Pets aren’t allowed in national parks
- Take nothing but photos – picking wildflowers is illegal and can land you with a $2,000 fine
- Respect private property and don’t trespass
- Protect canola crops by staying out of canola fields
Where to start