Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Orange Boxwood

Denhamia disperma (Maytenus disperma)
This little local dry rainforest tree is fruiting in Franke Scrub at present. 
It’s yellow-orange seed capsules usually have one or two of the nut-brown seeds, but here’s an unusual one with three.

A neat little tree, with a dense canopy of shiny brown leaves, this would be an ideal small shade tree for a suburban garden. It is unlikely to exceed 6m high, in a garden situation.
The photo below, of a four year old tree, shows how it has a dense canopy from an early age.

Like most of our local dry rainforest trees, it is fast-growing if given mulch and water in it’s first year or two of life.
It’s a good bird- attracting tree. The dense leaves provide shelter and nesting sites, the flowers attract insects at breeding time, and the seeds provide an annual food crop.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Free Plant Giveaway

At Crows Nest Community Nursery (CNCN)

This Toowoomba Regional Council nursery is participating in the TRC’s annual plant giveaway. To get their two free plants, ratepayers from anywhere in the Toowoomba Region need to bring in the voucher that they received with their rate notice.

This nursery specialises in growing plants of local provenance, from the Toowoomba Region.

Those who would prefer their free plants to be environmentally friendly local native species, might like to make the trip to Crows Nest on any Thursday morning in March.

Thanks to the work of an enthusiastic team of volunteers, the plants in the nursery are in beautiful condition. They are ready for planting in the ground right now, while the soil moisture is so good and there’s plenty of the warm season left for them to get off to a good start before growth slows down in winter.

These are some of the plants you will find on the “Plant Giveaway” shelf: 

Petalostigma pachyphyllum
•    Open shrub to 2m.
•    Very showy orange seed capsules in summer.
•    All plants parts are bitter, but contain no quinine.
•    Well drained soil. Full or part sun. Drought hardy.

 Callicarpa pedunculata
•    Shrub to 2m. Velvety leaves.
•    Clusters of small mauve flowers. Very showy bunches of shiny purple berries in autumn.
•    Best if pruned hard each year in autumn. Useful screening shrub.
•    Good lantana replacement in frost free areas along Range.
•    Well drained soil. Full sun. Drought hardy. Frost tender.

 Erythrina numerosa
•    Small tree (5-10m) with prickly stem.
•    Very showy panicles of large orange pea flowers attract honeyeaters in November, while tree has its annual leaf-drop.
•    Native to Picnic Point and Prince Henry Drive.
•    Well drained soil. Full sun. Drought hardy. Best if mulched. Frost tender.

Maytenus bilocularis
•    Shrub or small tree to 4m.
•    Excellent hedge plant. Very showy red new growth after pruning. Small yellow seed capsules attract birds.
•    Prefers to be mulched. Best if pruned to within 10cm of ground after first year's growth, to produce multiple stems.
•    Well drained soil. Full or part sun. Moderately drought hardy. Claimed to be frost hardy to -7°C.

Eucalyptus tereticornis
•    Fast growing tree to 30 metres. Smooth bark peels to white, maturing to pale grey.
•    Ornamental tree, suit avenue planting.
•    Favourite koala food tree.
•    Bees: Medium Nectar yield. High pollen yield.
•    Valued timber.
•    All soils. Full sun. Drought hardy. Tolerates moderate frosts.

Eucalyptus viminalis
•    Fast growing tree to 30m. Smooth bark peels to white, shed in long ribbons which hang from branches.
•    Outstanding large ornamental tree.
•    Koala food tree.
•    Locally native to west-flowing creeks, close to Great Dividing Range.
•    All soils. Full or part sun. Mildly drought hardy. Frost hardy.

Spartothamnella juncea
•    Dense, almost leafless shrub to 1m x 50cm
•    Massed of tiny bright orange berries.
•    Well drained soil. Full or part sun. Very drought hardy. Tolerates light frost.

 Dodonaea viscosa v. angustifolia
•    Shrub to 2m.
•    Male and female flowers on separate plants.
•    Pale pinkish green seed capsules on female plants in spring. Seeds eaten by rosellas.
•    Well drained soil. Full sun. Very drought hardy. Tolerates moderate frosts.

Senna acclinis
•    Soft wooded shrub to 1.5m.
•    Showy yellow cassia-type flowers over most of summer.
•    Threatened local species.
•    Outstanding butterfly host plant. Best if pruned at end of summer.
•    Well drained soil. Sun or part shade. Moderately drought hardy. Tolerates light frost.

Melaleuca bracteata
•    Small tree to 8m.
•    White bottlebrush flowers. Nectar source for birds and butterflies.
•    Fast growing if well watered.
•    All soils including poorly drained ones. Full or part sun. Drought hardy. Tolerates moderate frost.

Leptospermum brachyandrum
•    Multi-stemmed shrub to 3m
•    Very beautiful trunks shed bark like a gumtree, revealing brown, cream, and purple trunk.
•    White flowers in spring attract butterflies and honeyeaters.
•    Well drained soil. Full or part sun. Drought hardy.
•    Frost hardy to -7°

 Auranticarpa rhombifolia
•    Fast growing small tree to 8m.
•    Dense rounded canopy. Masses of white, butterfly-attracting flowers, followed by very showy, long lasting display of orange seed capsules with black bird-attracting seeds.
•    Popular street tree. Commonly planted in Highfields gardens.
•    Well drained soil. Full or part sun. Drought hardy. Best if mulched. Frost hardy to 7°C

Callitris baileyi
•    Slender tree to 12m.
•    Columnar form, with green foliage to ground level. Good for formal plantings, or as a tall screen.
•    Rare and threatened local native plant.
•    Well drained soil. Full sun. Drought hardy. Tolerates light frost.

Allocasuarina littoralis
•    Fast growing small tree to 8m.
•    Dark, fissured bark.
•    Separate male and female trees. A small group planted 40cm apart forms a single canopy and is likely to have trees of both sexes.
•    Black cockatoos feed on seeds in woody cones on female trees.
•    Well drained soil. Full sun. Very drought hardy. Frost resistant.

Hymenosporum flavum
Fast growing small rainforest tree (6-10m) with masses of very fragrant, yellow/cream flowers in spring. Popular garden specimen tree.
Strong winds may damage the branches.
Responds well to fertilising and mulch.
All soils. Full or part sun. Moderately drought hardy. Tolerates moderate frosts.

Flindersia collina
•    Medium tree 15-20m. Well shaped, rounded canopy gives dense shade.
•    Masses of small white fragrant flowers in November attract butterflies and insect-eating birds.
•    Will grow on poorer soils. A good timber tree. Butterfly host.
•    Well drained soil. Full or part sun. Drought hardy. Best if mulched. Tolerates some frost.


Brachychiton acerifolius
•    Medium tree to 10m.
•    Spring leaf drop followed by spectacular display of red flowers in November. Looks very good if planted with silky oak, which flowers at the same time.
•    Fast growing if well watered. Moderately fire resistant.
•    Well drained or medium soil. Full sun. Moderately drought hardy. Best if mulched. Tolerates light frost.

Brachychiton rupestris
•    Medium tree to 12m, with swollen bottle-like trunk.
•    Moderately fire resistant.
•    Aborigines ate the roasted seeds.
•    Keep away from buildings and drains.
•    Most soils. Full or part sun. Very drought hardy. Tolerates moderate frosts.

Lomandra longifolia
•    Large clumping plant to 1m.
•    Leaves used to make baskets.
•    Spiky flowers have delightful perfume, if the plants are grown in the shade
•    Tolerates waterlogged soils. Very drought hardy. Sun or shade. Frost hardy

Cordyline petiolaris
•    Rainforest understorey plant to 2m
•    Large panicles of very pretty small pink and mauve flowers. Showy red berries.
•    Grows best if mulched and given some water in dry times.
•    Good container plant when young
•    Most soils. Full or part shade. Drought hardy. Tolerates light frost, but needs shelter from frost when young.

Cordyline rubra
•    Rainforest understorey plant to 2m
•    Large panicles of delicate  mauve flowers. Showy red berries.
•    Grows best if mulched and given some water in dry times. Good container plant when young
•    Most soils. Full or part shade. Moderately drought hardy. Tolerates light frost, but needs shelter from frost when young.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What’s Happening to my Native Bee Hive?

We are very fond of our hive. It was given to us after its discovery in a felled tree, and we made this nice little position for it, facing north-east and sheltered from most of the heat of the summer sun. In winter, the different sun angle plus a bit pruning of the native jasmine (Jasminum didymum subs. racemosum) overhead makes sure it is sun-warmed.

The bees are stingless native honeybees, Tetragonula carbonaria (Trigona carbonaria).
Their hive has thrived, and each day a stream of busy little workers heads back to the hive, with healthy corbicular loads of pollen on their back legs. Although we hadn’t noticed it, some would also have been carrying resin, which they use to make their comb.

Its door usually looks like this:

(The pairs of yellow dots are the rear ends of bees scurrying into the hive laden with pollen, their little black bottoms invisible in the photo.)

Then a few days ago we noticed it looked like this:

Alas, what has happened is that my little native bees have found a cadarghi tree, Corymbia torreliana (Eucalyptus torelliana), whose sticky seeds have been abandoned all around the mouth of the hive.
Cadarghi is a north Queensland gumtree which doesn’t grow naturally south of Ingham. It was widely introduced into southern Queensland as a fast-growing shady garden plant, and has thrived, becoming an environmental weed which damages local ecosystems.
It is interesting botanically, because it has been discovered that native bees disperse its seeds, and this is the first known example of bees as dispersal agents.
The bees don't mean to bring the seeds home. They only want the resin out of the gumnuts, and (no doubt to their annoyance) the seeds stick on to their load of resin. Getting rid of them after cleaning, they are likely to disperse the seeds within 10m of my hive. Here is one of my little bees, carrying out a C. torreliana seed which has accidentally been brought into the hive.

Every 10 seconds or so in the working day, another bee brings out another seed, so hundreds of seeds are being dropped around my garden. Frankly, I could do without this! I already weed out privet, lantana, camphor laurel, jacaranda, Chinese celtis and lantana. Another environmental weed tree is something I do not need.

The bees try to leave their seeds outside before entering their home which is why some seeds are clustered around the door. This bee in the photo below seemed to have almost succeeded. The seed hung by a little sticky thread from the resin on its back leg. It gave up the attempt, and limped into the hive with the seed still attached.

The bees will probably not manage to clean out all the seeds in their hive. What they leave behind may clog passageways and prevent ventilation and free movement of bees.  I have since scraped away the external seeds, which you can see (Photo 3) were beginning to block the doorway, reducing the flow of the air to interior. But I can do nothing about the seeds inside.

Meanwhile there is a risk that the C. torreliana resin which they are now using for interior construction, will start to melt on a hot day. (It has a lower melting point than the other resins they have been using.) We can just hope that the hive’s shaded position and its insulated container will keep it safe from internal collapse.

These native bees are essential pollinators of large numbers of native plant species, and are the only pollinators of some of them. There is a risk that the spread of this harmful tree species, and the resulting damage to the population of our local pollinators, will interfere with the fertilisation of seed of who know which species of native plants. Pollination of Australian plant species is still only very partially studied, so there is much still unknown about how many plants are pollinated. In the fragmented modern remnants of our ecosystems, people are noticing that some healthy trees don't seem to be producing a new generation of seedlings. Perhaps our unwitting damage to populations of pollinators is part of the problem.


To quote from a Biosecurity Queensland website on Weeds of Australia:
“Cadaghi (Corymbia torelliana) is regarded as an environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland and as a potential environmental weed in New South Wales. It is becoming a serious weed in Queensland, where native bees collect its resin-coated seeds and spread it into eucalypt forests all over south-eastern Queensland.
This species has a very dense canopy of large leaves that is well suited to the rainforests of northern Queensland. When growing in open woodlands, outside its native range, it creates a heavy shade over the native understorey plants and prevents them from growing. It therefore has a significant potential to modify the diversity and structure of the native forests in sub-tropical Australia....
... The sticky resin from the fruiting capsules is collected by native stingless bees (e.g. Trigona carbonaria) and can completely clog the honeycombs and sometimes also seal the bee hive entrance, killing all the bees inside. This tree  often gets covered in a sooty fungus, which can dirty or discolour things that are underneath it (e.g. vehicles, pavers and outdoor furniture). The large horizontal limbs are also prone to snapping off and damaging property.”

(http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/03030800-0b07-490a-8d04-0605030c0f01/media/Html/Corymbia_torelliana.htm )

A 2013 study on Australian stingless bees by Megan Halcroft, Robert Spooner-\Hart, and Anne Dollin  adds this information:
“Corymbia torelliana seeds are mainly dispersed by gravity; 88% of seeds drop to the ground soon after the fruit opens. However, one or two seeds remain within the gum nut and all are dispersed by Trigona. Resin is produced in the gum nut... When the bee enters the nut to collect resin, the seeds attach to the sticky corbicular load. Seeds are dispersed by bee(s)...and may be spread during the flight back to the nest or transported to the nest itself. This may be up to 1 km away from the tree...
... Trigona are strongly attracted to the resin from C. torelliana and the colonies stop normal foraging activity to collect as much of this resource as possible. As foragers return to the nest some attempt to dislodge seeds on the nest exterior, while others transport seeds directly into the nest cavity. The colony removes some, but not all, of the introduced seeds and these are either disposed of, up to 10m outside the nest or adhere to the sticky surface of the nest entrance... reducing airflow within the nest...
... Resin from C. torelliana may have a lower melting point than many other plant resins. Collection of the resin and its seed occurs during the hottest months of the year in Australia — December to February... and as temperatures rise, the resin begins to soften. Reports of structural collapse due to seed weight and resin softening are not uncommon, particularly if ambient temperatures exceed 39°C. As a result, some beekeepers remove their hives from C. torelliana areas during resin flow to prevent colonies from collecting the resin and seed mixture. While many Australian beekeepers consider C. torelliana to be a major management problem, others consider it to be a useful source of pollen, nectar and resin.”

The site also remarks:
“Not declared or considered noxious by any state government authorities.”


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rainforest Plant ID Workshop

Presenters: Gwen Harden and Bill McDonald

Sunday 22nd February 
commencing at 8.30 am for a 9 am start

WHERE: 210 West Street, South Toowoomba (between South and Alderley Streets)
Parking in Derwak Street off West Street

COST: $5.00 per person. Morning Tea included

REGISTER: Hugh Krenske hkrenske@210west.org.au, or Ph 4635 1758, or 0418 748 282.
Places are limited, so it’s best to book soon.

LEARN: to identify plants of Rainforests and our local Dry Scrubs, using the new interactive USB key for computers, “Rainforest Plants of Australia” by Gwen Harden, Hugh Nicholson, Bill McDonald, Nan Nicholson, Terry Tame and John Williams
For more information on the key, see http://rainforests.net.au

This new USB key makes it easy for amateur plant enthusiasts, and people new to botany or unfamiliar with our local plants, to identify the natives of our rainforests, scrubs, and vine thickets.
Of the 1139 plants in the key, about a quarter are native to the eastern Darling Downs, so the key is of immediate practical use in our local area. It can give us the ability to identify many of the plants we find on our roadsides and our properties, and in our National Parks and Conservation Reserves.
It comes with good descriptions of all the plants, line drawings, and an average of over 10 brilliant photos for every plant species.

1. Your key if you have one (You can purchase one at the workshop for $70)
2. Your laptop if you have one. Please check that your laptop has the necessary system
requirements to run the key at http://rainforests.net.au. RUNS ON WINDOWS AND MACS.

SPECIAL OFFER: Gwen will have copies of the key available at the workshop for $70.00.
She will also have for sale copies of the famous “red book” and “green book” - “Rainforest Trees and Shrubs” and “Rainforest Climbing Plants”, by Gwen Harden, Bill McDonald, and John Williams. There will be an opportunity during the morning for those who want to learn “keying out” plants from these books, rather than from the computer key.

1. Share a BYO lunch.
2. Early afternoon Rainforest Walk and Talk with Bill and Gwen in the rainforest secton of the Boyce Garden (corner Mackenzie and Range Streets). This is one of the last remnants of rainforest
within the Toowoomba city limits.

This workshop is hosted jointly by Toowoomba Field Naturalist Club and Friends of the Escarpment Parks Toowoomba Inc. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Warrior bush

Apophyllum anomalum
Female warrior bushes in Irongate conservation reserve are laden with fruit at the moment.

They are obviously very attractive to birds, as many of these fruits have been “robbed”, the seeds  taken and the skins left on the bush.

People can eat the fruit, too, should they want to, which is the reason this plant is sometimes known as “native currant”. (As there are some half a dozen other Australian plants also called native currants, and as the fruit isn’t really much like a currant at all, this is not a particularly useful common name!) They are sweet tasting, so won't give you a nasty shock if you put them in your mouth, but they are hardly worth the trouble. There is very little flesh between the inedible skin and the fruit.

Warrior bushes have tangled, somewhat spiny branches. Young plants have small, narrow leaves, but as they mature they lose them and the job of photosynthesis is done by the green branches alone.


The tiny spines make them a little unfriendly, though the branches tend to form a tight canopy which doesn’t put itself in the way of passers by. Birds like to nest in their protection.

Warrior bushes are in the same family as our native caper plants, and like them they host the various species of caper butterflies, which can be seen in great numbers almost all year round at Irongate.

Livestock also eat the branches, undeterred by the spines. The result is often a neat, well shaped bush. In sheep country they develop a clean-stemmed lollipop look, which teaches us how well the plants respond to pruning.


Old trees have wonderful trunks. This magnificent specimen at Gowrie Junction could well be several hundred years old.

This would be a very good plant for a formal garden, but don't expect quick results from a seedling. Warrior bushes would be best placed in between other shrubs, to mature and grow in their own time.
They are frost hardy, and tolerate extreme drought.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crows Nest Community Nursery

New Stock List
We’ve had good rain. Soil moisture levels are high, and plants grow fast in the hot weather. So now is a good time to plant.
The Toowoomba Regional Council’s environmental nursery ( “Crows Nest Community Nursery”) is the place to buy indigenous plants. It specialises in plants of local provenance to the TRC area.
The new season’s seeds are being planted as fast as the volunteers can manage. New seedlings are coming on. New plants are being put on the shelves every week.
If you don’t see the plant you want on this list, it is worth enquiring.

         Tubes, $2.50

THE NURSERY’S ADDRESS: Depot Road, Crows Nest Industrial Estate
TO FIND IT: If coming from the south on the New England Highway, turn right, into the Industrial Estate - BEFORE you get to the town proper. (If you cross the creek at Bullocky’s Rest, you’ve gone too far. Turn back.)
Follow Industrial Ave - the road parallel to the highway - then turn right into Timber St. At the end of that, turn right into Depot road. The nursery is at the end.

Thursdays 9.00aam-1.00pm (Tel 4698 2990)

•    Unable to get to the nursery during those times? You can make arrangements to obtain plants from the nursery by contacting the manager (see below).
•    Enquiries and larger orders should go to the Crows Nest Community Nursery’s manager, Richard Colclough, at  richard.colclough@toowoombaRC.qld.gov.au , or contact him via the TRC Call Centre on 131 872 (131TRC).

Stock List
Note: Any “stock list” is only correct as it is being written! Even as I worked on completing this list today, annoying customers were coming in, buying things, and SPOILING MY GOOD LIST!
Ah well, Such is life.

Abutilon tubulosum    MALLOW, YELLOW TRUMPET
Acacia complanata    WATTLE, DONKEYS EARS
Acacia concurrens    CURRACABAH
Acacia decora    WATTLE, PRETTY
Acacia falcata    WATTLE, SICKLE
Acacia fimbriata    WATTLE, FRINGED
Acacia granitica    WATTLE, GRANITE
Acacia hakeoides    WATTLE, HAKEA LEAF
Acacia harpophylla    BRIGALOW
Acacia implexa    WATTLE HICKORY
Acacia irrorata    WATTLE, GREEN
Acacia ixiophylla    WATTLE, UMBRELLA
Acacia jucunda    WATTLE, YETMAN
Acacia juncifolia    WATTLE, RUSH-LEAFED
Acacia loroloba    WATTLE, MA MA CREEK. (rare)
Acacia maidenii    WATTLE, MAIDEN'S
Acacia pendula    MYALL, WEEPING
Acacia salicina    WATTLE, WILLOW
Acacia venulosa    WATTLE, VEINY
Acmena smithii (Syzygium smithii)    LILLYPILLY, COMMON
Acronychia oblongifolia    ASPEN, WHITE
Alchornea ilicifolia    DOVEWOOD, HOLLY
Alectryon coriaceous    ALECTRYON, BEACH
Alectryon subdentatus    BIRDS EYE, HOLLY LEAFED
Alectryon tomentosus    BIRDS EYE, HAIRY
Allocasuarina inophloia    SHE OAK, THREADY BARKED
Allocasuarina littoralis    SHE OAK, BLACK
Allocasuarina luehmannii    OAK, BULL
Allocasuarina torulosa    SHE OAK, FOREST
Alphitonia excelsa    ASH, SOAP
Angophora woodsiana    APPLEGUM, SMUDGEE
Araucaria bidwillii    BUNYA
Araucaria cunninghamii    HOOP PINE
Archontophoenix cunninghiamana    PALM, PICCABEEN
Arytera distylis    COOGERA, TWIN LEAFED
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
Breynia oblongifolia    BREYNIA
Bursaria spinosa    BURSARIA, SWEET
Callicarpa pedunculata    BEAUTY BERRY, VELVET
Callitris baileyi    CYPRESS, BAILEYS
Capillipedium spicigerum    GRASS, SCENTED TOP
Capparis mitchellii    CAPER TREE, MITCHELL'S
Cassia brewsteri    CASSIA TREE, RED-FLOWERING
Cassia tomentella    BEAN TREE, VELVET
Castanospermum australe    BLACK BEAN
Casuarina cristata    BELAH
Casuarina cunninghamiana    SHE OAK, RIVER
Cissus antarctica    VINE, KANGAROO
Clausena smyrelliana    GREG'S WAMPI
Clematis decipiens    CLEMATIS, YELLOW FLOWERED
Clematis glycinoides    VINE, HEADACHE
Clerodendrum tomentosum    LOLLY BUSH, HAIRY
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 intermedia    BLOODWOOD, PINK
Corymbia trachyphloia    BLOODWOOD, BROWN
Croton insularis    CROTON, SILVER
Cryptocarya foveolata    WALNUT, MOUNTAIN
Cryptocarya glaucescens    JACKWOOD
Cryptocarya triplinervis var. pubens    LAUREL, HAIRY BROWN
Cupaniopsis anarcardiodes    TUCKEROO, BEACH
Cupaniopsis parvifolia    TUCKEROO, SMALL LEAF
Cyclophyllum longipetalum    CANTHIUM, BRUSH
Cyperus tetraphylla    SEDGE, BLACK FRUITED
Deeringia amaranthoides    DEERINGIA, RED-FRUITED
Denhamia pittosporoides    DENHAMIA, VEINY
Dianella brevipedunculata    FLAX LILY, SHORT STEMMED
Dianella caerulea    FLAX LILY, BLUE
Dianella laevis is now D. longifolia    FLAX LILY, PALE
Dianella unidentified (caerulea?)
Dillwynia phylicoides    PEA, SMALL LEAF PARROT
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 excelsa    LILY, GYMEA
Dysoxylum fraseranum    ROSEWOOD
Elaeocarpus reticulatus    ASH, BLUEBERRY
Elaeodendron australe,    OLIVE PLUM, RED
Elattostachys xylocarpa    BEETROOT TREE, SHORT-LEAF
Emmenosperma alphitonoides    ASH, YELLOW
Erythrina numerosa    CORAL TREE, PINE MOUNTAIN
Erythroxylum sp. Splityard ck    REDWOOD BUSH
Eucalyptus acmenoides    STRINGYBARK, BROAD LEAFED
Eucalyptus albens    BOX, WHITE
Eucalyptus amplifolia    GUM, CABBAGE
Eucalyptus argophloia    GUM, CHINCHILLA WHITE
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 leucoxylon rosea    GUM, RED FLOWERING YELLOW
Eucalyptus melanophloia    IRONBARK, SILVER LEAFED
Eucalyptus microcarpa    GUM, SMALL-FLOWERING GREY
Eucalyptus microcorys    TALLOWWOOD
Eucalyptus moluccana    BOX, GUM TOPPED
Eucalyptus montivaga    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
Excoecarya dallachyana    POISON TREE, SCRUB
Ficus coronata    FIG, CREEK SANDPAPER
Ficus macrophylla    FIG, MORETON Bay
Ficus rubiginosa    FIG, SCRUB
Ficus superba var. henneana    FIG, DECIDUOUS
Ficus watkinsiana    FIG, GREEN LEAFED MORETON BAY
Flindersia australis    ASH, CROWS
Flindersia collina    ASH, LEOPARD
Flindersia xanthoxyla    LONG JACK
Geijera salicifolia    WILGA, SCRUB
Geitonoplesium cymosum    LILY, SCRAMBLING
Gmelina leichhardtii    BEECH, WHITE
Gmelina leichhardtii    BEECH, WHITE
Grevillea banksii, Shrub    GREVILLEA, BANKS'S, SHRUB FORM
Grevillea banksii, Tree    GREVILLEA, BANKS'S, TREE FORM
Grevillea robusta    OAK, SILKY
Guioa semiglauca    GUIOA
Hakea florulenta    HAKEA, FINGER
Hakea salicifolia    HAKEA TREE, WHITE FLOWERED
Hibiscus heterophyllus, pink and white    HIBISCUS, NATIVE
Hovea lanceolata    HOVEA, LANCE LEAFED
Hovea lorata    HOVEA, SMALL LEAFED
Hovea planifolia
Hymenosporum flavum    FRANGIPANI, NATIVE
Jagera pseudorhus    FOAMBARK
Jasminum didymum subsp didymum    JASMINE, COASTAL
Jasminum didymum subsp racemosum    JASMINE, TRIPLE LEAF
Jasminum simplicifolium    JASMINE, STIFF
Kunzea flavescens (Rare)    KUNZEA, YELLOW
Legnephora moorei    VINE, ROUNDLEAF
Leptospermum brachyandrum    TEA TREE, HARLEQUIN BARKED
Leptospermum polygalifolium    TEA TREE, TANTOON
Lomandra longifolia    MATRUSH, LONG-LEAF
Lophostemon confertus    BOX, BRUSH
Mallotus philippensis    KAMALA, RED
Maytenus bilocularis    ORANGEBARK, HEDGE
Maytenus silvestris    ORANGEBARK, NARROW LEAFED
Melaleuca bracteata    TEA TREE, BLACK
Melaleuca decora    PAPERBARK, PRETTY
Melaleuca lanceolata    TEA TREE, DRYLAND
Melaleuca liniariifolia    SNOW-IN-SUMMER
Melaleuca quercina    BOTTLEBRUSH, OAKEY
Melaleuca viminalis (Callistemon viminalis)    BOTTLEBRUSH, WEEPING RED
Melia azedarach    CEDAR, WHITE
Melicope micrococca    DOUGHWOOD, WHITE
Melicope rubra    EVODIA, LITTLE
Morinda canthoides    MORINDA, CLIMBING
Myrsine variabilis (Rapanea variabilis)    MUTTONWOOD
Omalanthus populifolius    BLEEDING HEART TREE
Owenia venosa    APPLE, ROSE
Ozothamnus diosmifolius    RICE FLOWER
Pandorea jasminoides    VINE, WONGA
Pandorea pandorana    WONGA VINE
Panicum decompositum    GRASS, NATIVE MILLET
Pararchidendron pruinosum    SNOW WOOD
Peperomia tetraphylla    PEPEROMIA, SMALL LEAFED
Persoonia sericea    GEEBUNG, SILKY
Petalostigma pachyphyllum    QUININE BUSH, THICK-LEAFED
Petalostigma pubescens    QUININE BUSH, NATIVE
Petrophile canescens    CONESTICKS
Pittosporum angustifolium    GUMBY GUMBY
Pittosporum revolutum    PITTOSPORUM, HAIRY
Pittosporum spinescens    WALLABY APPLE
Pittosporum undulatum    PITTOSPORUM, SWEET
Planchonella australis    APPLE, BLACK
Poa labillardierei    GRASS, TUSSOCK
Podocarpus elatus    PINE, PLUM
Polyscias elegans    CELERYWOOD
Pseuderanthemum variabile    LOVE FLOWER, white flowered form
Psydrax buxifolium    SWEET SUZIE
Pultenaea villosa    PEA, HAIRY BUSH
Rhodosphaera rhodanthema    YELLOWWOOD, DEEP
Sambucus australasica    ELDERBERRY, YELLOW
Santalum obtusifolium    SANDALWOOD, SCRUB
Senna acclinis    SENNA, BRUSH
Senna artemisioides subsp. zygophylla    SENNA, NARROW LEAF DESERT
Sophora fraseri    NECKLACE POD
Spartothamnella juncea    BROOM, SQUARE STEMMED
Stenocarpus sinuatus    FIREWHEEL TREE
Sterculia quadrifida    PEANUT TREE
Streblus brunonianus    WHALEBONE TREE
Swainsona brachycarpa    PEA, SLENDER DARLING
Swainsona queenslandica    PEA, QUEENSLAND DARLING
Syncarpia verecunda (Rare)    TURPENTINE, RAVENSBOURNE
Synoum glandulosum    ROSEWOOD, SCENTLESS
Toona ciliata    CEDAR, RED
Trema tomentosa    POISON PEACH
Vitex lignum- vitae    SATINWOOD
Xanthorrhoea glauca    GRASS TREE, BLUE LEAFED

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This word is new to me, and I’m delighted to have discovered it.
I have felt, for a long time, that we Australians badly need a word to balance “sclerophyll”
I think most of you would know that sclerophyll means “hard leaf”, and is used to describe many of our familiar native trees and shrubs. Gumtrees, wattles, banksias, grevilleas, she-oaks, melaleucas, and heath plants all have sclerophyll leaves. The leaf-type is so common in Australia that it is used to describe whole ecosystems, as well as individual plants.
But what of the rest? The ones with not-sclerophyll leaves. Ordinary leaves.
We could use a good umbrella term for them, too.

Grey Birds Eye

They are sometimes grouped together as “rainforest” plants.
This is a rather unsatisfactory term, especially to the newcomer to the field of Australian plants, who, unsurprisingly, imagines that rainforest plants must be “plants that grow in rainforests”. A little further investigation reveals that botanists’ and ecologists’ definitions of  rainforests include “dry"rainforests” - a term that is often met with derision.
Dry rain???

Crows Apple
Owenia venosa
A plant of "dry" rainforests.

Then we find that our dry scrubs, or semi-evergreen vine thickets are also classified as a type of rainforest. Fair enough, in one sense, as their plants clearly belong in the same group as those of rainforests and dry rainforests. But it makes us feel uncomfortable. Not only is there not much rain on these scrubs, but it’s really stretching a point to call them forests.

 Gumby Gumby, Pittosporum angusti-folium
A typical "dry scrub" or vine thicket plant.

And as we head further inland, there are wilgas, and a whole host of other non-sclerophyll plants which often thrive in quite open and very dry country, yet they too belong to this "rainforest" group.

Nobody, on seeing an emu apple Owenia acidula growing on a desert sandhill thinks of rainforests.

 Emu Apple, Owenia venosa, on sandhill west of Windorah.

I suspect that the absence of a satisfactory, popular, group word to describe our inland non-sclerophyll flora is part of the reason that Australians have largely ignored these highly practical species when it comes to garden and civic planting.
This is a pity, because these “ordinary leafed” plants from dry environments can be so useful in horticulture.  Drought hardy and usually frost hardy, they tend to have fast-growing deep roots (making them suitable for use near buildings), to be not very large at maturity (making them suitable for suburban gardens and street trees), and are green and shady. They deserve to be much more widely known and used.

 White Beetroot Tree
Elatto-stachys xylocarpa

Yet it's not surprising that they are generally passed over by people who want to grow something green and shady, yet reliably hardy. a suggestion that they should grow a tree of "rainforest" type is most likely to conjure up a picture of a water-hungry giant with shallow, structure-destroying roots. It’s hardly surprising that they look instead to introduced species.

So I’m drawn to the word “orthophyll”, a word which means “ordinary leaf”. It is defined on one internet glossary as “vegetation with leaves mostly of ordinary texture, as opposed to sclerophyll”.
The word seems to have been invented around 1970 by an American botanist (Francis Raymond Fosberg) who needed a useful term for his work on island ecologies. It is used worldwide to include plants such as maples, ashes, and willows as well as non-deciduous plants with “ordinary” leaves. International writers also use it to describe the relevant Australian plants.

White Bollygum
Neolitsea dealbata.
An Australian orthophyll tree.

Some Australian botanists have also used it. Apparently like me, they have thought it seems like a more acceptable term for the group, than “rainforest”. On the whole, though, our botanists don’t seem to be drawn to it.
Perhaps it’s because it’s a little difficult to define “ordinary” with any real precision?
That's the virtue of the word, though. The concept of an ordinary leaf is quite elastic enough to allow for all the variations of texture that can be found in non-sclerophyll leaves.
Orthophyll. I like it.