09 September, 2008

Signs of Spring

The Colours of Spring
"Signs of Spring" and you start with autumn leaves? Well no. We have winter, spring, summer and periodic deciduous trees here in the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Australia. This is Damson Plum, Terminalia sericocarpa, which is usually spring deciduous but some trees lost their leaves in winter this year, going a rich plum colour with the first frosts. The edible fruit is high in vitamin C and very tart.

One of the early spring flowering legumes is Northern Bloodvine, Austrosteenisia stipularis, a large vine endemic to the rainforests of north-east Queensland. They are able to produce spectacular shows and anyone crossing Winfield Bridge outside of Malanda is recommended to watch out for it over the next two months. This plant is just coming into flower on the bridge over Petersons Creek, Yungaburra. The flowers on this individual are about mid range with some being more purple and darker while others are a light pink. The closely related A. blackii has deep red flowers. Both vines will flower when they are partly deciduous which helps to show off their flowers. A. blackii is a very large vine up to 350mm in diameter. Two of this size can be seen at Lake Barrine after the twin Kauris. Walk to where the track divides and then another twenty metres. The vines grow between the two tracks and tie a most wonderful knot.

Cassia brewsteri comes in a variety of colours and forms but this medium sized tree with the green and red flowers is one of the best. Later in the season a beautiful small golden flowered form will flower in the median strip, Cedar Street in Yungaburra.

A number of hatchling spiders have blown in on the wind. This is a young Golden Orb, Nephila pilipes, which by the time she is fully grown will be about as large as my hand. Her abdomen will go grey, the rest of her black except for her wonderful golden knees.

We have had a bit of rain of late and that has started the frogs moving. I heard a Green Tree-frog last night but could not find it. This little Eastern Dwarf Tree-frog, Litoria fallax, was sitting on one of my dwarf bonsai plants.

Other hints of spring have been a little thunder with the rain yesterday and reports of Channel-billed Cuckoos and Koels returning. I have not seen or heard them yet but two lots of friends have reported them. With this warmer damp weather the snakes will be starting to move so please take care when travelling on the roads or in long grass.

1 comment:

Mosura said...

A Dwarf Tree-frog on a dwarf tree seems most appropriate :-)