Monday, December 13, 2010


Pararchidendron pruinosum

I photographed these lovely flowers at Peacehaven Botanic Park (Kuhls Road Highfields) a few weeks ago.

This is the first flowering that this little four-year-old tree has produced. You can see that it’s flowers open white, and darken to deep orange before dying, making a very pretty show on the tree. They are said to be sweet-scented, but I forgot to take a sniff. Perhaps you could try it yourself. The tree is to be found in the dry rainforest section of the park.
This little tree is also called “Monkey’s earrings” because of its bright yellow seedpods, which curl into a circle, then open to show their bright red lining and shiny black seeds. Perhaps we’ll be lucky and see some at Peacehaven this autumn. The inference is that monkeys have a rather garish taste in jewellery!
See photos
The tree grows naturally on the escarpment below Harlaxton, at Ravensbourne, and in The Palms National Park north of Crows Nest, among other local sites.
Robert Campbell says he had some difficulty establishing it at Peacehaven, as it needed to be watered frequently in its early establishment phase. Now, however, it seems to be as drought hardy as the rest of Peacehaven’s plants.
We can expect it to grow into a neat little shade tree, with an ornamental red, flaky trunk. It would be suitable for a small suburban garden.
Its flowers are attractive to all kinds of butterflies. Tailed emperors can also breed on it. (see article below)

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