Thursday, February 2, 2012

Everistia

Everistia vacciniifolia var. nervosa
Family: RUBIACEAE
This local shrub must be Peacehaven Botanic Park’s weirdest-looking specimen. Its intricate zig-zag branchlets curve back from the main stem to form an almost complete tube, down which you can put your hand.

It looks very prickly, and is indeed spiky, but the spikes aren’t very sharp so you won’t suffer if you try it.
It is related to the Canthiums, and has the same rather symmetrical branches. In a garden, it could be used very impressively for a sculptural effect, particularly against a light coloured background wall which would show off the fascinating branching pattern.


There are two varieties. This is the one with the "big" leaves.









In a garden it would grow to be a fairly large shrub, but older plants, such as this one in deep shade of dry rainforest at the Bunya mountains, can become little trees with trunks up to 15cm.


The plant gets very tiny, perfumed, yellow flowers, followed by 5mm fruits. They ripen from orange-red to black, and attract birds.
The plant can still be found close to Toowoomba and Highfields, growing on red soil in places such as Franke Scrub. Its habitat is the dry rainforests and vine thickets, so it has disappeared from much of its original range.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,

Wendy Benfer identified a tiny one that had volunteered under some exotic conifers in my garden -red soil outside Kingaroy. Vine scrub country. Those conifers have a number of indigenous volunteers under them, so I am not going to remove them until I have good cover of natives.

Cheers,
Frank S.

Patricia Gardner said...

Hello Frank. Sorry for the slow response. I have been away and had no access to the comments file of my blog, so am now dealing with the backlog.
You remind me of being told by a national park ranger, up on the Atherton Tableland where National Parks are heavily involved in revegation work, that they found that a good reveg technique was to plant just the pioneers and the easy-to grow or easy to obtain plants. They found that the other plant seeds would then take advantage of the modified environment and find their own way in, slowly creating a complete ecosystem. so your garden is working for you, despite the conifers not being native.
The best example of "it doesn't matter if the cover is not native" thing is of someone doing reveg for a large mine. He had a large bare area to cover, some target endangered bird species to re-establish, and was running out of financed time due to several drought failures of plantings. He covered the area with plastic Christmas trees, and found that it provided good cover for his little plantings despite no improvement in the weather, and that his target birds were using the plastic trees as perches while foraging among the small plants.
In my own garden, I have found that the range of native plant species finding their own way in is increasing as my garden matures. I think you will find it interesting to see what pops up in yours.
Cheers,
Trish