14 September, 2009

Flowers in the Forest: September 2009

Spring time is not the best time for flowers but there are some around at the moment. In the tall sclerophyll forests of the western edge of the Atherton Tablelands is Banksia aquilonia, the tallest of the banksias. It is a handsome tree and the flowers are usually terminal. 'Cones' with seeds lose their old flowers but they are retained if no pollination is successful.
Johnstone River Satinash, Syzygium erythrocaylyx, flowers on the trunk, and branches. Red to scarlet buds open to green flowers. This tree only grows in very wet areas. The fruit is large, red and edible. One should not eat fruit from the rainforest unless a reliable guide indicates it is safe to do so. Let them eat it first and if they are still walking around in half an hour give it a go.
The rich golden yellow flowers of Myrtle Satinash, Thaleropia queeenslandica, cause the trees to stand out like beacons. The first flowers are beginning to open now on the southern Tablelands.
In the wilds of the Kennedy Range, the Powder-puff Lilly-pilly, Syzygium wilsoni ssp wilsoni, is a scruffy shrub. Grown in a garden with a bit of care and pruning it is a magnificently dense shrub with these wonderful flowers with white pollen. The new growth of this form is magenta. Other forms of the species grow into huge trees with white flowers or small trees with pink flowers and blue fruit as opposed to the white fruit of this form.
Bonewood, above and the following plants are all in flower now on the middle altitudes of the Atherton Tablelands where I am fortunate enough to live. Emminosperma alphitoniodes, is a great small tree with glossy green leaves. It is rare for the tree not to have new growth, fruit or flowers, whatever the time of year. The canopy is darkly dense and the trunk so pale as to be almost white.
Daphne Buttonwood, does not have the largest flowers but they make up for this by being highly scented in the early evening. the fruit look like old fashioned ribbed buttons.
Umbels of small flowers can still cover a whole tree of Snowwood, Pararchidendron pruinosum, and will be followed by dry leathery pods containing black seeds. The pods are dark brown on the outside and reddish-brown on the inside.

Pittosporum rubiginosum is in flower around Malanda and at Lake Barrine near the entrance to the huge Kauri trees. Small orange fruit contain many small sticky red seeds.
Darlingia darlingiana, or Brown Oak is now just starting to flower. They have a very strong honey scent. Beetles, flies and wasps are important pollinators.
The Tree Waratah is a stunner! One can see these in the forests from Malanda to Tolga but also in the towns. the timber is also of high quality.


Snail said...

Having just moved to a rainforest block on the Tablelands, I'm finding your plant posts very useful.

Alan Gillanders said...

Thanks Snail. Have you joined TREAT? A good place to learn about trees. There is a community tree planting at Tolga this Saturday 3 October.