On Waratahs

Waratah, My Mountain Queen

Waratah, my Mountain Queen,
Grandest flower ever seen,
Glorious in shade or sun,
Where our rocky gullies run.
There is nothing, near or far,
Like our Mountain Waratah.

Henry Lawson

As the floral emblem of New South Wales, waratahs appear all over the place in a stylised format. From buses and road signs to state government signage, these red flowers are a constant background presence.

Waratah after rain
Waratah after rain

From September to November, waratahs are in flower in the Blue Mountains, and nothing quite compares to going for a wander early of a morning and coming across waratahs in bloom. In the photo above, it had rained the night before and there were still raindrops captured like tiny jewels in the petals.

There are several waratah trees in my neighbourhood. These are heavy with blooms, a thick collection of red flowers. I like the ones by the side of the road, or along walking tracks. They are usually more modest in the number of blooms but somehow more striking for their simplicity.

Waratahs along the Great Western Highway, Blackheath
Waratahs along the Great Western Highway, Blackheath

There is a wonderful link here to a page about waratahs by Waratah Software. I particularly like the staggered photos of how a waratah grows and develops over time.

Coming across a waratah in bloom in the bush is a special kind of delight.

[Photo: a waratah spotted along the Fairfax Heritage Walking track at Blackheath]

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