[Extract relevant to Botany]

... After an hour and a half spell at Mount Pleasant (which, like all the other dwellings, is not inhabited), we resumed our journey, making the Eleanor Crossing at a long 6 miles. There are some pinetrees here (Callitris) and sheaoaks (Casuarina quadrivalvis). The scrub sheaoak (C. distyla) is very common all over the island, but the other is very uncommon. The water here is brackish in summer, but in the wells it is quite fresh. At a short distance to the south are some sandhills, and at the foot of the sandhills are boreholes, which were put down at the expense of the Government many years ago in the vain hope of finding coal. The mining captain who conducted the work passed through what he called a 'petrified forest' at about 20 feet, but the 'trunks and branches' that he found were only calcareous deposits upon the roots of plants which are quite common in all sandy soils near the coast of Kangaroo Island...

... There are Banksias ornata and marginata, scrub sheaoaks, dwarf mallees of various kinds, stunted stringybarks, hakeas, grasstrees, Eucalyptus cosmophylla, &c, but grass there is none. This is very strange, especially as it was here and to the north-eastward that Captain Sutherland said that he crossed extensive grassy plains. That statement cost three or four valuable men to lose their lives.

The whole country from Queenscliffe to Cape de Coudie, where I went a few days afterwards, was thickly covered with flowers of many kinds, the names of which are as Greek to me. Mr. Tepper gave me a ''straight tip' in respect to some of the most remarkable of them, amongst them being Prostranthera spinosa, known to the islanders as "The Wild Irishman." The flowers are lilac pink, and even white, but the plant is a terror to those who carelessly sit down upon it— especially if it be a dry one, as I can aver from practical experience. A patient friend arid a pair of tweezers is then much required.

There are innumerable

other prickly shrubs, such as the Acacia armata—(K.I. hedge)-— Pulteneas, Davieaias, Calocephalus, Brownii (a yellow spiny plant, which dries and keep its colour), Petrophila multisecta (with a cone of yellow flowers in a spinous head), Isopogon ceratophyllus (with a red spiny head), the holly-leaved Grevillea, and fifty others. One of the flowers that was most conspicuous was the Londonia aurea (or Behrii) of a most chaste yellow colour. The splendid Fringe Lily (Thysanotis dichatomus) was very abundant, and as many as a dozen flowers were counted upon a single stem. The rich pure blue flowers of the Patersonia glauca were not abundant except at about 2 miles south of Karratta, but the equally rich blue of the Sisyrhynchinm cyaneum were found in many places. The beautiful pink of the Boronia Edwardsii was common all through the trip, but towards Cape de Coudie it seemed to be very floriferous. There is another species of Boronia upon the island which is quite rare. The native mignonette (Stackhousia) was abundant in some parts, as was also the minute Helichrysum concifolium, like a white Xeranthemum, and a very dwarf white bushy Pimelea mlcrocephala. The numerous-stamened Lhotzkia was one of the commonest shrubs in most places, but the bell-like pink Tetratheca erictifolia was found only under the wings of other shrubs. The only scented flower that I noticed was the Comespermum patens, a tall bluish white flower; thickly clustered upon a terminal spike. A good many sorts of Prostranthera exist, besides the 'Wild Irishman,' but they are not spiny, and their long tubular flowers are very handsome — one is red, another scarlet, and yet another is green or a greenish blue. An almost similar red flower is the Adenanthera sericens, but the leaves of the plant are soft like silk, and fold closely to the stem, which branches like a candelabrum. This is the only shrub that horses will eat upon the island, and they seem to be very fond of it. The large orange-red pea-shaped flowers of Gompholobium minus were very conspicuous at intervals, and occasionally we were startled by the appearance of the handsome blue flowers of Cheiranthera volubilis, a climber first noticed on the road to the Nobs, but seen several times afterwards. The curious woolly greenish - white bracts of the Spyridium in several varieties are common from end to end of the land. There is a dwarf Hakea with white flowers which was just a mass of blooming. The Aster Huegelii in pale purple, dark purple, and almost white, turned up in patches at frequent intervals. Dilwynia floribunda was also pretty common. Perhaps, the most gorgeous flowers of the whole were the Callistemons, which in some places— in swampy creeks— comprised nearly the whole vegetation. The rich, crimson bottiebrush flowers cannot be described. The Melaleucas were also in flower in several varieties, and they seemed to be a favourite resort for the blowflies, which swarmed about the trees like bees about a hive. We saw very few Correas, but of Pimeleas there were probably at least six varieties— one (P. flava) being yellow and another of enormous size and great beatify. Of Grevillea at least five species were found in flower...

Pimelia flava, image from Wikipedia

TRIP ACROSS KANGAROO ISLAND. (1886, December 2). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 6.

See full account at separate webpage Trip Across Kangaroo Island

See Islander article 9 June 2019 covering Bev Overton being awarded an AM for services to the conservation and the environment.