Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wattle We Do, on Wattle Day?

I do so love the idea of Wattle Day.

But I find the reality deeply unsatisfying.
Today is the “official” National Wattle Day. Did you know?
What I did was to go bushwalking. I kept an eye out for wattles, but it was not a success. I found a lot of wattle plants, but only one species with flowers on it and they were mostly dead.
Did you have any better luck? Or did you just not know it was Wattle Day?
The only good wattle flowers I saw today were in my photo file. The ones above were photographed a month ago.
Apparently the patriotic urge to have a Wattle Day began around the time of Australian Federation. Wattle leagues had been established in most states by 1912, with each capital city making a decision on behalf of its own state as to which day suited them (and the city’s local wattles) best. The first day in September was a popular choice down south, but it wasn’t universal. Sydney chose it, but soon changed to 1 August, which suited it better.
In Brisbane, the organisers sensibly settled on a Wattle Day in late July, to match the peak of the annual wattle flowering in that district. It was a bit too early for those of us who live in Toowoomba, of course, but it was the start of a good idea.
It never really took off, though. Despite growing up in Queensland and living here for most of my life, I hadn’t actually heard of it until a few years ago. I have never been aware of any celebration of it in Queensland, or even any acknowledgement of its existence except for odd occasions when someone remarks “It’s wattle day today, you know”, to listeners who usually didn’t.
Supporters of the day have soldiered on, however. In 1990 they decided for some reason that the concept would be best served by agreeing to a National Wattle Day, on September 1st.
I’m not really sure why.
I even wonder whether Queensland agreed, or whether it was just that no-one cared enough to protest.
If the idea was that we Australians would be moved to patriotic fervour and enthusiasm for some of our loveliest native plants, it would really better for wattle days to be celebrated at a time when we could all actually go out into the countryside and see for ourselves how beautiful it is.

In much (perhaps most) of Australia, this can’t be done on 1 September.
For us in Toowoomba, mid-August would be perfect.
I can’t see that Wattle Day will ever really be a widespread Australian success, unless we fragment it to suit the reality of our great range of climates, and our matching rebellious, non-conformist flora. Telling wattles to behave themselves, and flower on the “official first day of spring” just isn’t going to work. (Who were these officials, by the way, and why did they feel the need to be official about when spring should start? Fortunately, the real spring ignores them, knowing a great deal more than they do about when it should really begin each year, in each part of Australia.)
There is really no reason why Australians couldn’t celebrate locally suitable Wattle Days on much the same basis. If we feel the need for some kind of uniformity, perhaps “official “ Wattle Days could be organised by local government areas. This is probably the largest unit that could make a decision likely to reflect what the wattles are actually doing in its bailiewick.
But why wait for an official decision? Next year, Let’s just do it!
It would be rather fun, really.




Friday, August 28, 2015

Austral Indigo

Indigofera australis

I photographed this one last week in the Palmtree area (near Ravensbourne), where it grew on red soil. You can see it on the 4k walking track with follows the old MunroTramway, which begins in Palmtree road. A blue signpost at the beginning tells us that the track has been developed by the local council as one of our  “Great Short Walks".
This native indigo is a slender shrub, pretty year-round with its blue-green leaves, but tending to go unnoticed in the wild until it produces these lovely flowers.

The species is widespread throughout much of Australia, and very variable in form, but our local form is a small shrub, usually less than a metre high.
It can be used effectively in a garden, especially if planted in a postition where advantage can be taken of the contrast between its unusual leaf colour, and green-leafed plants.
Tip pruning regularly is important, to help it grow into a more dense shrub.
This is a frost hardy plant, preferring well-drained soil and semi-shade.

Austral indigo is related to the plants which have been used to produce an indigo dye, since time immemorial. (The "woad" used by ancient Britons to tattoo and dye their skins was indigo, and so is the dye in blue jeans.) Austral indigo contains less of the active ingredient than the species that are used commercially, but Australian dyers have used it to produce green, yellow, a good fast red, and of course the traditional blue.
Here are some sites of successful modern hobby dyers who have used it:
http://localandbespoke.com/2013/06/29/austral-indigo-1-cold-vinegar-process
http://www.tinkermaker.com.au/2013/08/indigofera-australis-australian-native-indigo
http://theplanthunter.com.au/gardens/growing-dye-garden
http://handweaversandspinnersguildofvictoria.org.au/dyegroup09.htm
http://turkeyredjournal.com/archives/V18_I1/heywood.html
The last has a photo of an interesting, multi-coloured piece of knitting, made by treating the Indigofera australia leaves in different ways to create dyes of different colours.
IF YOU WANT TO USE Austral Indigo FOR DYING, PLEASE GROW YOUR OWN PLANTS. Nature is doing it tough, and leaf-collecting in the quantities needed for even a small amount of dye may deprive native insects of the food they need to make the next generation, and may even kill the plants.
Seed of the species can be bought on the internet. This would be of plants from other parts of Australia. If you care about cross-pollination damaging the integrity of our local plants (the same problem that CAUSES many people to strongly oppose GM crops), then you will collect local native seed when it becomes available in November. (Once again, correct behaviour is to collect no more than about 10% of the seed you see around you. Nature needs its seeds, too.)
It is easy to grow if you use the boiling water method: Put the seeds in a coffee cup. Pour boiling water on them. Leave to soak overnight. Plant the seeds that have swelled, in the morning. Repeat the process for any seeds that didn't swell. (They have a tiny hole through the outer coat that is blocked with wax, and the wax must be melted for the water to penetrate to the seed inside and start it growing.)

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Frost Can’t Last Forever...

although around this time every year I lose confidence in the idea that it will ever be warm again!
However, the rational part of my mind tells me the seasons will really behave as they usually do again this year, and that in a few weeks it will be time for getting in those early spring plantings.
So it’s time to be stocking up again with plants!
Crows Nest Nursery Open Day
WHEN: Saturday 5 September, 9.00am-2.00pm.
WHERE: Crows Nest Community Nursery
            Depot Road, Crows Nest.
(If coming from the Toowoomba direction, turn off the New England Highway just after the 80 sign on the edge of Crows Nest, and follow the green signs to the nursery.)
ENQUIRIES: Ph: 4698 2990 during the Nursery’s usual opening hours (Thursdays 9.00am-1.00pm), or email  info@ToowoombaRC.qld.gov.au .

Stock List, August 2015
(Please note that the nursery has plants constantly coming on. If you don’t see the plant you want on this list of current stock, just ask. It may be there and ready for sale by the time you want it.)
Tubes, $2.50 and $4.00

Abutilon tubulosum    MALLOW, YELLOW TRUMPET
Acacia concurrens    CURRACABAH
Acacia decora        WATTLE, PRETTY
Acacia falcata        WATTLE, SICKLE
Acacia fimbriata    WATTLE, FRINGED
Acacia granitica    WATTLE, GRANITE
Acacia juncifolia    WATTLE, RUSH-LEAFED
Acacia maidenii    WATTLE, MAIDEN'S
Acacia melanoxylon    BLACKWOOD
Acacia salicina        WATTLE, WILLOW
Acacia venulosa    WATTLE, VEINY
Acacia venulosa    WATTLE, VEINY
Alchornea ilicifolia    DOVEWOOD, HOLLY
Alectryon subcinereus    BIRDS EYE, QUINCE LEAFED
Alectryon tomentosus    BIRDS EYE, HAIRY
Allocasuarina inophloia    SHE OAK, THREADY BARKED
Allocasuarina littoralis    SHE OAK, BLACK
Allocasuarina luehmannii    BULLOAK
Allocasuarina luehmannii    OAK, BULL
Allocasuarina torulosa    SHE OAK, FOREST
Alphitonia excelsa    ASH, SOAP
Alpinia caerulea, red-backed variety    GINGER, NATIVE
Angophora subvelutina    APPLEGUM, BROAD LEAFED
Araucaria bidwillii    BUNYA
Araucaria cunninghamii    HOOP PINE
Archontophoenix cunninghiamana    PALM, PICCABEEN
Arytera divaricata    COOGERA, GAP AXE
Arytera foveolata    COOGERA, PITTED
Atalaya salicifolia    WHITEWOOD, SCRUB
Auranticarpa rhombifolia    HOLLYWOOD, GOLDEN

Backhousia angustfolia    MYRTLE, CURRY
Banksia integrifolia    BANKSIA, TREE
Banksia spinulosa v. collina    BANKSIA, HAIR PIN
Brachychiton acerifolius    FLAME TREE
Brachychiton bidwillii    KURRAJONG, RUSTY
Brachychiton populneus    KURRAJONG
Brachychiton rupestris    BOTTLE TREE
Bridelia leichhardtii    IRONBARK, LEICHHARDTS
Callicarpa pedunculata    BEAUTY BERRY, VELVET
Callitris baileyi        CYPRESS, BAILEYS
Capparis mitchellii    CAPER TREE, MITCHELL'S
Castanospermum australe    BLACK BEAN
Casuarina cristata    BELAH
Casuarina cunninghamiana    SHE OAK, RIVER
Claoxylon australe    BRITTLEWOOD
Clausena smyrelliana    GREG'S WAMPI
Clematis glycinoides    VINE, HEADACHE
Clerodendron floribundum    LOLLY BUSH
Cordyline petiolaris    PALM LILY, LARGE LEAFED
Cordyline rubra        PALM LILY, RED FRUITED
Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata (Corymbia maculata)    GUM, SPOTTED
Corymbia gummifera    BLOODWOOD, RED
Corymbia trachyphloia    BLOODWOOD, BROWN
Cryptocarya glaucescens    JACKWOOD
Cryptocarya triplinervis var. pubens    LAUREL, HAIRY BROWN
Cupaniopsis anarcardiodes    TUCKEROO, BEACH
Cupaniopsis parvifolia    TUCKEROO, SMALL LEAF
Cyclophyllum longipetalum    CANTHIUM, BRUSH
Deeringia amaranthoides    DEERINGIA, RED-FRUITED
Denhamia bilocularis (Maytenus bilocularis)    HEDGE ORANGEBARK
Denhamia pittosporoides    DENHAMIA, VEINY
Denhamia silvestris    ORANGEBARK, NARROW LEAFED
Dianella brevipedunculata    FLAX LILY, SHORT STEMMED
Dianella caerulea    FLAX LILY, BLUE
Dianella longifolia (was D. laevis)    FLAX LILY, PALE
Dillwynia phylicoides    PEA, SMALL LEAF PARROT
Diploglottis cunninghamii    TAMARIND, NATIVE
Dodonaea sinuolata    HOP BUSH, THREADY LEAF

Dodonaea tenuifolia    HOP BUSH, FERN LEAFED
Dodonaea triquetra    HOP BUSH, FOREST
Dodonaea viscosa v. angustifolia    HOPBUSH, NARROW LEAFED
Doryanthes palmeri    LILY, SPEAR
Drypetes deplanchei    TULIPWOOD, YELLOW
Dysoxylum fraserianum    ROSEWOOD
Ehretia acuminata    KODA
Ehretia membranifolia    KODA, THIN LEAFED
Einadia nutans, red fruited    SALTBUSH, NODDING, red fruited
Elaeodendron australe,    OLIVE PLUM, RED
Elattostachys xylocarpa    BEETROOT TREE, SHORT-LEAF
Emmenosperma alphitoniodes    ASH, YELLOW
Enchylaena tomentosa    SALTBUSH, RUBY
Erythrina numerosa    CORAL TREE, PINE MOUNTAIN
Eucalyptus acmenoides    STRINGYBARK, BROAD LEAFED
Eucalyptus albens    BOX, WHITE
Eucalyptus amplifolia    GUM, CABBAGE
Eucalyptus biturbinata    GUM, GREY, LARGE FRUITED
Eucalyptus camaldulensis    GUM, RIVER RED
Eucalyptus conica    BOX, FUZZY
Eucalyptus crebra    IRONBARK, NARROW LEAFED
Eucalyptus eugenioides    STRINGYBARK, THIN LEAFED
Eucalyptus infera    DURIKAI MALLEE
Eucalyptus interstans    GUM, GRANITE RED
Eucalyptus leucoxylon rosea    GUM, RED FLOWERING YELLOW
Eucalyptus melanophloia    IRONBARK, SILVER LEAFED
Eucalyptus melliodora    BOX, YELLOW
Eucalyptus microcarpa    GUM, SMALL-FLOWERING GREY
Eucalyptus montivaga (Eucalyptus andrewsii subsp andrewsii)    BLACKBUTT, TOOWOOMBA
Eucalyptus orgadophila    COOLIBAH, MOUNTAIN
Eucalyptus propinqua    GUM, GREY, SMALL FRUITED
Eucalyptus resinifera    MAHOGANY, RED
Eucalyptus saligna    GUM, SYDNEY BLUE
Eucalyptus siderophloia    IRONBARK, GREY
Eucalyptus tereticornis    GUM, FOREST RED
Eucalyptus viminalis    GUM, MANNA
Eustrephus latifolius    WOMBAT BERRY
Excoecaria dallachyana    POISON TREE, SCRUB
Ficus coronata        FIG, CREEK SANDPAPER
Ficus rubiginosa    FIG, SCRUB
Ficus superba var. henneana    FIG, DECIDUOUS
Flindersia australis    ASH, CROWS
Flindersia collina    ASH, LEOPARD

Flindersia xanthoxyla    LONG JACK
Geijera salicifolia    WILGA, SCRUB
Geitonoplesium cymosum    LILY, SCRAMBLING
Gmelina leichhardtii    BEECH, WHITE
Grevillea robusta    OAK, SILKY
Guioa semiglauca    GUIOA
Hakea eriantha        HAKEA,WOOLLY FLOWERED
Hakea florulenta    HAKEA, FINGER
Hakea salicifolia    HAKEA TREE, WHITE FLOWERED
Homalanthus populifolius    BLEEDING HEART
Hovea lanceolata    HOVEA, LANCE LEAFED
Hymenosporum flavum    FRANGIPANI, NATIVE
Jagera pseudorhus    FOAMBARK
Jasminum didymum subsp racemosum    JASMINE, TRIPLE LEAF
Jasminum simplicifolium    JASMINE, STIFF
Legnephora moorei    VINE, ROUNDLEAF
Leptospermum brachyandrum    TEA TREE, HARLEQUIN BARKED
Leptospermum petersonii    TEA TREE, LEMON SCENTED
Leptospermum polygalifolium    TEA TREE, TANTOON
Lomandra hystrix    MATRUSH, CREEK
Lomandra longifolia    MATRUSH, LONG-LEAF
Lomatia silaifolia    CRINKLE BUSH
Lophostemon confertus    BOX, BRUSH
Maireana microphylla    BLUEBUSH, SMALL-LEAF
Melaleuca bracteata    TEA TREE, BLACK
Melaleuca linariifolia    SNOW-IN-SUMMER
Melaleuca quercina    BOTTLEBRUSH, OAKEY
Melaleuca viminalis (Callistemon viminalis)    BOTTLEBRUSH, RED WEEPING

Melia azedarach    CEDAR, WHITE
Melicope micrococca    DOUGHWOOD, WHITE
Notelaea linearis    MOCK OLIVE, NARROW LEAFED
Owenia acidula        APPLE, EMU
Owenia venosa        APPLE, ROSE
Ozothamnus diosmifolius    RICE FLOWER
Pararchidendron pruinosum    SNOW WOOD
Peperomia tetraphylla    PEPEROMIA, SMALL LEAFED
Petalostigma pachyphyllum    QUININE BUSH, THICK-LEAFED
Petrophile canescens    CONESTICKS
Pittosporum angustifolium    GUMBY GUMBY
Pittosporum revolutum    PITTOSPORUM, HAIRY
Pittosporum undulatum    PITTOSPORUM, SWEET
Planchonella australis    APPLE, BLACK
Podocarpus elatus    PINE, PLUM
Polyscias elegans    CELERYWOOD
Pseuderanthemum variabile    LOVE FLOWER, white flowered form
Psychotria daphnoides    PSYCHOTRIA, HEDGE
Pultenaea villosa    PEA, HAIRY BUSH
Rhaponticum australe    AUSTRAL CORNFLOWER
Rhodosphaera rhodanthema    YELLOWWOOD, DEEP
Sambucus australasica    ELDERBERRY, NATIVE
Santalum lanceolatum    SANDALWOOD, NORTHERN
Santalum lanceolatum    SANDALWOOD, NORTHERN
Senna artemisioides subsp. artemisioides    CASSIA, SILVER
Senna artemisioides subsp. zygophylla    SENNA, NARROW LEAF DESERT
Spartothamnella juncea    BROOM, SQUARE STEMMED
Sterculia quadrifida    PEANUT TREE
Streblus brunonianus    WHALEBONE TREE
Swainsona galegifolia    PEA, SHRUB DARLING
Swainsona queenslandica    PEA, QUEENSLAND DARLING
Syncarpia verecunda (Rare)    TURPENTINE, RAVENSBOURNE
Syzygium australe    LILLYPILLY, CREEK
Toona ciliata        CEDAR, RED
Vitex lignum- vitae    SATINWOOD
Xanthorrhoea glauca    GRASS TREE, BLUE LEAFED

Your Own Copy

of the Crows Nest Community Nursery Stock List.
Some people have requested this.
It's easy enough to email out, so you can print it out for yourself.
It is slightly better than the list above, as it includes an (approximate) count of the plants on the shelves which warns you if numbers of the plant you want are low so you need to get in fast.
It includes an extra list of plants that are "coming up" to being ready to go on the shelves.
And it tells you what shelves the plants are on. Some people like to walk in with the list in their hands and go straight to the shelves to look at the plants they think they might want.
Contact me (EMAIL ADDRESS ON RIGHT) if you'd like to go onto the email list.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Planting Trees or Shrubs this Spring?

Map your Frost in August


The biggest frosts follow clear wind-free nights. This coming weekend is expected to give us some beauties.

Frost reaches its peak at that magical time when dawn has achieved full daylight, but no rays of sunlight have yet touched the ground.

That is when you need to be out there in your ugg boots and beanie (and perhaps some other garments in between, if you feel the need), to see just where it lies, and where it doesn't. 

People who live in areas well-known for hard frosts are often surprised to find just how many frost-free patches there are. The tedious job of covering tender plants can be unnecessary if they are planted in these patches.

If you carry a handful of stakes and a hammer on your morning walk in the frost, you can mark frost-free spots where little plants will thrive.

Frost flows downhill like a river. It is diverted by obstacles in its way, and it pools in hollows and above barriers. You may find quite large frost-free areas downhill from these barriers. 

As well as this, every tree and shrub has a little frost free "aura" around it - a strip, smaller on the uphill side and larger below, but existing on the sides as well.  This strip just outside the tree's dripline (where most of its surface roots exist, and may compete with a new plant), is excellent planting territory. Structures also have frost-free auras, though to a lesser extent.

While planning this year's spring plantings, you might also look for places to create frost shelters for the future. These can be rows of frost-hardy shrubs and trees, perhaps doubling as hedges, screens or windbreaks. They are particularly efficient as frost-breaks if  they are bow-shaped and placed across the direction of frost flow with the centre of the bow uphill from the ends. This diverts the flow outwards, creating a sheltered nook to be filled with tender plants in a few years' time.

Forests and shrublands tend to hold the day’s warmth overnight. In our part of the world, ground temperature in these environments are always above freezing point and frost tender plants grow in them with no trouble at all. Revegetating with the same species can be a problem where clearing has thrown the area open to frost.

With time and careful planning, however, it is possible to eliminate frost and to restore the full range of native plants that once grew on it.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Brigalow

Acacia harpophylla
You have to be lucky, to catch brigalow in flower. The plants will often go for years without it. However this season seems to be a good one, so look out for the flowers.



This undervalued plant is one of Australia’s prettiest wattles, but not so much for its rare flowers as for its beautiful, sickle-shapes leaves, its black trunk and branches, and its graceful form.



 

In certain lights, the leaves are a lovely shade of silver. They are especially good in the sunshine after rain, while they are still wet.








In other lights, the trees have a dull grey, almost sinister beauty.



Brigalows sucker if damaged or cut down. This can be a nuisance to those who want to clear paddocks for agriculture, but is an advantage to those who want fresh, young, edible regrowth within reach of their cattle.
It also means that a row of brigalow can be turned into an effective windbreak with a bit of deliberate damage around the lower trunks to promote suckering.
For those who complain that wattles are short-lived, here's one that can live to a great old age.



Brigalow is the main inland host plant for the critically endangered butterfly, the pale imperial hairstreak Jalmenus eubulus. Unfortunately, it breeds only in old-growth forest or woodland and does not appear to colonise regrowth habitats following clearing or other major disturbance. This is a very good reason for conserving areas of old-growth brigalow.
Sadly, another threat to this and others of our more beautiful endangered butterflies are those so-called “nature lovers” who express their love by owning and displaying dead butterflies.  It is illegal to "collect" (as in "kill") butterflies in Australia without a permit, but this does not deter the unscrupulous.


Propagating brigalow is easy, provided you know the tricks, and its tricks are different from those of most wattles.
Seed of most Acacia species is very long-lived. It can be stored for at least 25 years and probably much longer. When the time comes for planting, you put a few seeds in a coffee cup, pour boiling water over them and leave them overnight. The seeds swell (repeat the treatment for the ones that don’t) and can be planted, germinating in a week or two.
Brigalow is different, though. It’s thin-skinned seeds are short-lived, so there’s no point in storing them as they’ll only die in storage. They need to be planted as fresh as possible, and without subjecting them to boiling water, which would kill them. Treated this way, they germinate within days.
Given that flowering and seed production are erratic, producing new little brigalow plants is a matter of taking advantage of opportunities when they occur, and this coming season looks like providing that.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Common Wilga

Geijera parviflora
Family: RUTACEAE


This type of scenery was once very common on the Darling Downs. A high, open canopy of Eucalyptus species was partially filled below with a lower canopy of common wilga and other dry vine scrub species.

The Lake Broadwater Regional Park* near Dalby preserves a portion of it. It is rich in wildlife because of the mosaic of varied environmental niches that this type of habitat provides. There are windbreaks and nectar for butterflies; grassy patches and shade for the kangaroos, nutritious fruits for birds, sheltering undergrowth for lizards and tiny mammals, and so on.
It’s a great spot for orchard butterflies, which breed on the wilga leaves, and for nesting birds, which come for the protein-rich mixture of edible insects attracted by the long winter/spring flowering season of the wilgas.




We are more familiar with wilgas as fence-line survivors in our farmscapes, where there are easily identified by their shape. They look like great green beach balls.



Where sheep graze under them, the lower half of the foliage disappears, leaving shady green umbrellas.



They make pretty garden plants, as seen in this young one photographed (above) in Peacehaven Botanic Garden in 2012.
They are also fast-growing. It was twice the height when I photographed it recently (below).



Wilga’s wild-life supporting credentials mean that it is more than a stand-alone addition to a garden. Like so many “scrub” plants, we can leave it show off its beautiful ground-sweeping shape, or we can imitate sheep and trim it up from below for a pretty little shade tree.
The strongly vertical lines of the dense narrow foliage make it a good background or contrast plant.



 Wilgas belong to the Rutaceae family. Like the other members (including citrus fruits), the crushed leaves release a very pleasant fragrance.


 

Wilgas are notoriously difficult to grow from seed.
Sarah Caldwell, who was a recent guest speaker at a Toowoomba Society for Growing Australian Plants meeting, said that the secret is to peel off the little black seed coats to remove the chemical that inhibits germination. I can’t wait to try it!
Other techniques used are to put seed-rich soil from under older plants into seed trays and water it. Older seeds which have lost their inhibitions will grow.
Or you can put fresh seeds in a muslin bag and hang it in a toilet cistern for a few months. The frequent changes of water are said to flush out the inhibiting chemicals.

This plant is very hardy to both frosts and droughts.


* For those who like to ponder on matters political, it is interesting that the Broadwater park has had a recent name change. Its status as a “Regional Park” is new. Until the Newman government was elected and decided to fiddle with nomenclature and other aspects of our environment protection laws, it was called the “Lake Broadwater Conservation Park”. Gazetted in 1881 to conserve the only large, naturally-occurring freshwater lake on the Darling Downs and its flora and fauna, it is a nationally important wetland.

It was an odd thing to do, to carefully remove the word “conservation” from the names of our state’s Conservation Parks. What were they thinking?
And why has the current Labor Government, which was so fiercely opposed to the raft of changes made by the Newman Government to Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act, not changed it back?
The ways of politicians are mysterious indeed.


Small leafed Condoo

Planchonella cotinifolia
(Pouteria cotinifolia)

Family: SAPOTACEAE

 

It is a bit hard to find specimens of this plant out in the open, as its preferred habitat is in the local rainforest type known as “dry vine scrub” or “semi-evergreen vine thicket”.
This one, however, has been left when scrub was cleared for grazing. It could be as much as two hundred years old, but a long period in the open has given it plenty of time to fill in its canopy to its pretty, natural shape.

Cattle love the leaves, (as is usually the case with dry vine scrub species). They have eaten all of this plant they can reach, revealing its trunk.
Cattle-pruning tells us how well a tree would respond to treatment with the secateurs, and you can see that this is a flexible plant which could have a number of garden uses.
As a naturally small tree, it would be very suitable for a suburban garden or as a street tree, never likely to outgrow a well-chosen site. Grown among other trees or shrubs, it forms the trunk like that in the photo, though often single. Its canopy shapes itself to share the space with whatever else is growing close.
The regrowth at the base of the tree in the photo tells us that it would grow a leafy canopy to ground level if left by itself to grow in an open position. It could be a useful tall screening plant.
If a tree shape is wanted in an exposed open site, it would be a simple matter to trim off the lower branches.
Another cattle-pruned specimen seen (sorry, I didn’t photograph it) must have been exposed to cattle when much younger. All-over pruning has resulted in a dense-foliaged waist-high shrub, demonstrating the potential of small-leafed condoo as a hedging plant.

Like many other members of the Sapotaceae family, condoos have milky sap and edible fruit. (Black sapote, for example, is popular in tropical and sub-tropical Australia, where it is often grown by lovers of unusual fruits)
Small-leafed condoo’s fruit is small, but delicious.


 
Well-sucked seeds like this one can be planted to make new trees.

This was once a common plant on the red soil around Toowoomba. Many are now being cleared as real estate development radiates from the Highfields area, though occasionally the developers leave a pretty specimen as they clear. Replanting the same species in the resulting new gardens would be a positive step for our local environment.
Although not recorded as a butterfly host plant, it may well support blue triangle butterflies, as do some closely related condoo species. If you have one, take note of the caterpillars that use it. You could well add something new to add to Australia's still rather sketchy knowledge of its own wildlife.