Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gargaloo

Parsonsia eucalyptophylla
Family: APOCYNACEAE



Climbers are rainforest plants, really.






When our local climate really behaves as badly as it can- by which I mean that it gives us many years of tedious drought - there are not too many climbers that will tolerate it. This one does, though. A descendant of rainforest ancestors, it has adapted so well to life west of the Great Dividing Range, that it can be relied on in the toughest, most exposed positions. It takes drought, frost, and searing sunshine in its stride.



Gargaloos are a common sight in some of our ex-scrub areas, growing on fence-posts and isolated trees.






This roadside specimen was gloriously in flower last weekend. No prizes for guessing what its pollinating insects must be!
The flowers have a strong sweet perfume, which some people love, though it reminds me a little too much of rotting fruit. They can’t be relied upon to flower with this much enthusiasm every year, but do it very well when the rain comes at the right time.

This is a plant which could be used in gardens. It grows very densely, making a good job of disguising old tree stumps, and would do well on a sturdy trellis or pergola. We tend to think of it as a plant of the blacksoil, but it grows well also on the red.
(See the Article on Irongate Reserve, June 13 2008, for more photos of gargaloo plants, including one of a lovely trunk of a very old plant.)

Monkey Rope in Flower
Parsonsia straminea

This relative of gargaloo rarely flowers with this kind of vigour, so I was delighted to find it on this front fence at Blackbutt last weekend.




As you see, it is attracting beetles with even more success that its country cousin. Its flowers are as strongly perfumed as those of the gargaloo, but the fragrance is a little different - more musty.
I wondered whether special garden care was responsible for this glorious show of flowers, but apparently not. It was not planted by the homeowners, but found its own way there, and has never received a jot of special attention.
(For more on the monkey rope vine, see article, Aug 2009)

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