Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dry Rainforest at Highfields.

What a special legacy it would be, to leave behind you a patch of local native vegetation for our grandchildren’s grandchildren to appreciate. Charles and Motee Rogers did this, with a bushland reserve on a site next to the Highfields swimming pool and recreation centre.
The vegetation it preserves gives a little taste of what the Highfields environment must have been like, before clearing and gum-trees took over from the original dry rainforest.
Even this precious remnant is relatively impoverished. The vegetation does not have nearly the richness of the scrub in the nearby reserve in Franke’s Road, (which has an amazing 70 species of local native plants, on a much smaller site). However its accessible situation, so close to the shopping centre, makes it a uniquely valuable piece of public land. The Crows Nest Shire Council has been maintaining the reserve, carefully enriching it by planting appropriate local natives in the more open spaces.
This is the perfect time of year for a visit, as so many of the plants are in fruit. The showiest, at the moment, are the red olive-plums, Elaeodendron australis, with their masses of bright orange, olive-shaped fruits, (See article below).
Also visible from the winding path are fruits of:

Hedge Orangebark, Denhamia bilocularis (Maytenus bilocularis). Yellow-orange fruits.

Native Breynia, Breynia oblongifolia. Red fruits ripening to black.

Box-leafed Canthium. Psydrax odorata forma buxifolia. Black fruits

Stiff Jasmine, Jasminum simplicifolium subsp australianse. Black fruits

Peach-leafed Trema, Trema tomentosa, Black fruits.

You'll find Narrow-leafed Orangebark, Denhamia silvestris (Maytenus silvestris) (Yellow-orange fruits); Scrub Tuckeroo, Alectryon diversifolius, (Bright red fruits - see February article); Tape Vine, Stephania japonica., (Red fruits); New England Pimelia, Pimelia novae-anglicae, (Red fruits); and Scrub Jasmine, Jasminum didymum subsp. racemosum, (Black Fruits) as well, and by the footpath outside the entry to the reserve is a Tuckeroo, Cupaniopsis parvifolia, almost finished for the year, but still with a few bright orange capsules hanging on.
All these fruits attract birds, so this is a particularly good time to go birdwatching there, as well.

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