Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Very Variable Boonaree
Hairy Boonaree
Alectryon pubescens
I found another leaf shape, at the Bunya Mountains last weekend, to add to my collection of different leaf shapes for this highly variable plant.


It tends to grow in the same places as the related scrub boonaree, Alectryon diversifolius, and can be mistaken for it. Both are large shrubs or small trees. However, hairy boonaree is distinguished by its larger leaves, and despite the scrub boonaree’s scientific name, P. pubescens is the one which has by far the greatest diversity of leaf size and shape. Its leaves are generally larger than those of A. diversifolius , and most plants have at least some leaves with a lobe or two close to the base of the leaf, a thing which A. diversifolius never has.

Hairy boonaree gets its name from the hairiness of various plant parts, most notably the seed capsules. They always begin as double fruits, but quite often only one of the two develops a seed.

By contrast, the Scrub Boonaree

Alectryon diversifolius
has a rather limited range of leaf shapes...


 ...and its capsules are not hairy.



Anonymous said...

I have never seen one of those a. pubescens Trish, where did you find it? I will like to check it out.


Patricia Gardner said...

Hi Mick.
It is more common in the Burnett than on the Darling Downs.
It was overlooked here for a long time as it was mistaken for A. diversifolius, but now that it's been recognised that it's a different species we seem to be finding quite a lot of it. There are never large stands of it, but usually just a few plants, often in the same place as A. diversifolius. It's at Mt Kynoch, for instance, and in Franke Scrub. I think that it would be restricted to the red and hilly black basalt soils, but perhaps this just because that's where I have seen it.
I notice that the Qld Flora census records three specimens from the Moreton region, but I have no idea where they were found.
There is a specimen in Peacehaven Botanic park at Highfields, which could be the easiest place to have a look at it. (In the Dry Rainforest Area, not too far from the nursery and the toilet block.)
The Bunya Mountains photo was taken on a walk between Westcott and Paradise, rather near the beginning of the track.

Sandiman said...

Hey Trish,
I found one of those (Hairy Bonaree) at Mt Basalt just out of Millmerran.
I was a little confused by it at first. My gut told me it was an Alectryon, but I hadn't seen the pubescens before, but finally came to the conclusion that that's what it was.

Patricia Gardner said...

Hi Sandy.
Nice to hear from you.
Even some professional botanists botanists spent some time confused by this plant, and mistaking it for Alectryon diversifolius, so you have no need to feel self-conscious about being confused!