Hundreds of native plant species thrive at Whiteman Park, with many of these at their most spectacular during the Spring wildflower season.
Visitors are able to experience the bushland wonders all year round. With over 400 plant species identified within the Park, including declared rare flora, there are numerous plants that will provide shows of colour throughout the seasons.
Fields of paper daisies can be enjoyed from afar, while for those eager to get down and close to nature, a wealth of orchids, trigger plants and delicate fungi may be spied when on the many walk trails that traverse the conservation area.
An informative guide presenting common wildflowers of the Park is available at the Visitor Information Centre.
The tree canopy at the Park is spectacular, and comprises a number of different species, with Banksia being the most common.
The candlestick banksia (Banksia attenuata), which produces large yellow flowers during winter and spring, and the firewood banksia (Banksia menziesii), which has showy red-toned inflorescences from late summer to winter, are excellent features of the Park’s many bushwalks.
These trees are an important source of nectar for the various honey eaters which live in the woodland, as well as the unique honey possum (Tarsipes rostratus) which also feeds upon the pollen of this and other native plant species.
Marri trees (Eucalyptus calophylla) are particularly common on the Swan Coastal Plain and can be found in abundance in the Park. These, and older growth jarrahs, are the largest trees in the Park, growing to heights in excess of 25 metres and a girth of 1.5 metres. The Marri trees produce fruits commonly known as ‘honky nuts’ and are a favourite in the diet of many of the cockatoos and parrots which visit the Park daily.
Another common tree species is the coastal blackbutt (Eucalyptus todtiana), which is common throughout the Park. It can be distinguished from other trees by its somewhat elegant spreading habit. It has distinct, round shaped gumnuts, vastly different from the bell shaped ‘honky nuts’ of the Marri. White to cream flowers are borne from January to April, with the commencement of this flowering advertised widely by the number of birds that feed upon the flowers and their nectar.
Flooded gums (Eucalyptus rudis) are notable in many of the damp land areas of the Park, particularly along the watercourse of Bennett Brook. Aptly named, the flooded gums will happily grow with their bases inundated in the water. From July to September, masses of white flowers cover the tree, which develop to form small, delicate fruit that differ greatly from many of the larger woody nuts of other Park eucalypts.
The Park also has a range of Paperbark species (Melaleuca preissiana) which may be spotted in damp land areas. These are characterised by the papery-textured bark on their trunks and snowy flowers which are produced throughout the warmer months.
The beautiful golden wreath wattle (Acacia saligna) showcases masses of yellow flowers from August to September.
Whiteman Park is also home to hundreds of specimens of native Christmas trees (Nuytsia floribunda), which is a member of the Mistletoe family. These trees bloom in spectacular fashion, with masses of brilliant orange/yellow flowers giving the canopy a fiery blanket of colour.
The grass trees (Xanthorrhoea preissii), also known by their indigenous name “Balga”, are easily spotted throughout the conservation and picnic areas.
This species is unique to Australia and extremely slow growing, with their growth rate believed to be less than 1cm per year. There are some specimens within the Park that reach heights of more than two metres and can be up to 250 years old.
Spectacular flower spikes rapidly arise from their grassy heads, typically as a response to fire.
While fire is an important ecological component of the Whiteman Park woodland, it can only be tolerated by many plants at long intervals, emphasising the need for fires to be avoided at all times.
Visitors are asked to take extreme care at all times with cigarettes and other items which may jeopardise the fragile environment.
A common shrub in the Park is the yellow buttercup (Hibbertia hypericoides) which is a prolific flowerer. Bobtail lizards and other fauna dine on the flowers and fruit of this vibrant species.
Other memorable wildflowers are the striking prickly mosses (Acacia pulchella), with its masses of yellow fluffy ball-like flowers in September and October and the brilliant orange/yellow feather flowers of the Morrison bush (Verticordia nitens) which flowers in early summer, producing fields of swaying colour.