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Desert blooms in once-a-decade wildflower season

Caddie Brain, Wednesday September 25, 2013 - 10:16 EST

The desert has exploded in colour.

Central Australia is in the midst of a one-in-ten-year wildflower season.

To the south and west of Alice Springs, fields and fields of millions of yellow native daisies have popped up, hovering above the red dirt.

It's keeping the botanists at the Alice Springs Herbarium busy, responding to identification inquiries and collecting seed that may not be seen again for a decade.

Peter Latz has spent most of his life studying the vegetation of Central Australia.

He says the desert is showing off.

"I don't like the desert that much when it's like this," he said.

"It's like a woman who tarts herself up with lipstick and eye shadow and beautiful clothes.

"Where's the real you?

"It's the same with the desert. It's tarting itself up at the moment, looking like a... I won't say the word!"

Botanist Peter Jobson says soaking winter rains throughout May are responsible for the spectacular display.

"It's set it off.

"There's all different types of daisies, from a unique subset of Australian group of daisies, better known as 'billy buttons'.

"I'm just loving seeing this field of yellow for this year, knowing we may not see it again for years."

Mr Latz says while the last comparable wildflower season was in 2000, no two wildflower seasons are the same.

"That's what I love about the desert," he said.

"I've been studying it from before you were born, and when I think I've started to get an idea about what's going on, it will turn around and say 'up yours Latzy! You didn't think I could do this did you?'

"It keeps you on your toes."


© ABC 2013

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