Black Kangaroo Paw, Western Australia by Fiona Ruck

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Every year wildflowers spring to life across Australia, and Western Australia has one of the most spectacular flower displays, and with over 12,000 species it is the largest collection of wildflowers in the world. Between July and October many parts of the state become blankets of colour with everything from tiny crimson myrtles, dainty smokebush, fiery mountain bells, over 150 varieties of orchids, and my favourite, the Black Kangaroo Paw.

This is one of the most spectacular Australian native plants. I love the contrast between the lime green flowers which look like ribbons and the black stems. Both the stems and leaves are covered in black hairs. The leaves originate from a stem under the ground which enables the plant to regenerate well after a fire.

This is only one variety of Kangaroo Paw. The striking red and green version is Western Australia’s State floral emblem. On 1 November 1962 an image of the red and green Kangaroo Paw was printed on a five pence stamp to commemorate the Seventh British Empire & Commonwealth Games which were held in Perth in 1962.The Kangaroo Paw is endemic to south west of Western Australia, but introduced to other countries, including England in 1833.

They have been known as ‘Kangaroo Paws’ since the 1850’s – but were originally called a ‘Kangaroo Foot!’

Because of my love of wildflowers, I flew from Sydney to Perth to meet up with a friend. Together we travelled north of Perth to Geraldton. We had perfect Spring weather and as the sun was going down in the Golden Hour we found this striking Black Kangaroo Paw.

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