Friends of the Box Ironbark Forests members Bernard Slattery and Bronwyn Silver have teamed up to produce a comprehensive guide to native peas of the Mount Alexander region.
Their new book, Native Peas of the Mount Alexander Region, identifies and details numerous common native pea species.
It’s the fourth in the Friends’ well-received series of local plant guides and has been published with assistance from the Castlemaine Field Naturalists Club and the Wettenhall Environment Trust.
“Native pea plants in the bush are hard to see when they’re not in flower and impossible to miss when they are,” Bernard said.
“Peas are beautiful, hardy and good for soils. They improve our soils.
“The problem is that many pea plants have quite similar flowers, which tempt the observer to lump them all together as egg and bacon plants.
“In fact most peas are easy to tell apart.
“Even the tricky ones aren’t impossible as long as you’re prepared to get up close and take a good look.”
The new guide offers detailed notes on 30 different native peas found in the bushlands of north-central Victoria.
“We want people to know the country better, just to understand what’s in it, and what the function of plants is,” Bernard said.
“All native plants have got a function.
“A lot of people will look at the bush and think it’s just scrub – but every bit of it is important and has a function.”
Written in plain language and generously illustrated, the new guide offers readers a way into an often under-appreciated – yet very important – part of our natural environment.
“We’ve already had a terrific response, lots of orders,” Bronwyn said.
Native Peas follows on from the Friends’ previous popular guides to eucalypts, wattles and mosses.
“The director of the Native Plant Society bookshop in Melbourne emailed us yesterday and ordered 30 and noted that there are very few books available on peas and they deserve more attention,” Bernard said.
The book is available at www.fobif.org.au