Plant of the month 09/2020: Persoonia falcata

Several of our members made a mid-September day trip to the Burra. Unfortunately, mass flowering of Calytrix was not happening, but many other species of special interest made the outing a great success.

Outstanding plants for this Burra trip were Persoonia falcata, Grevillea parallela and Petalostylis labicheoides. The first of these was making a fine show and deemed worthy of P o M status.

Photo: John Elliott

Persoonia falcata is currently flowering on Castle Hill too, and can probably be seen in flower on most of the Townsville ridges.

For more details, see our species page for Persoonia falcata.

Photo: John Elliott

Plant of the month 08/2020: Corchorus hygrophilus

Photo: Julia Hazel

A highlight of the August NPQ outing was the discovery of a rare species, Corchorus hygrophilus. Most of us had never seen it before.

Photo: John Elliott

This small plant occurs only in isolated populations between Magnetic Island and central Queensland. More details are available on our species page.

After the NPQ outing, John and Nanette reminded us that the original type specimen was collected by Alan Cunningham near Cape Cleveland, just over 200 years ago.

Below is an extract from Cunningham’s journal (published in 1862 by Bentham)

The Rocks are a coarse grey-Granite, with others of a kind of Schistus, pieces of which were broken off & carried on board, but had no effect on the Compasses there. The magnetical attractive Principals are possibly in the Bowels of the Earth. In the Descent we traced a rugged Deep grooved Gully, that conducts the bodies of Water falling on the Hills in the Rainy Season to the lower flats, on the Margins of which I noticed some very fine Plants of whom a few were new to me, viz., Corchorus hygrophilus, capsulis 4-locularis rugosis foliis elliptico ovatis acutis 5-nervis serrataris [sic] inaequalibus subsetaceis racemis axillaribus [with 4-locular wrinkled capsules, leaves elliptical-ovate acute 5-nerved, unequally toothed and slightly bristly, racemes axillary], with seeds 120.

Plant of the month 07/2020: Acacia leptostachya

Commonly known as Townsville Wattle, Acacia leptostachya thrives in dry sunny positions and typically lights up local bushland and gardens with its bright flowers around this time of year.

Photo: Julia Hazel

The species is flowering particularly well at present (early July 2020) on Castle Hill (photos above and below) producing a gorgeous display amidst drying grass and weeds on the hill’s rough slopes.

Photo: Julia Hazel

For more details see our species page for Acacia leptostachya.

Plant of the month 6/2020: Neofabricia myrtifolia

For a long time, this attractive large shrub has been a popular choice for native plant gardens. Right now it’s easy to see why, as specimens in Townsville gardens are currently full of flowers (mid June 2020).

Photo: John Elliott

Neofabricia myrtifolia thrives in local gardens although it is not actually native to the Townsville area. It is a Queensland endemic, however, with its natural range in the northern part of Cape York.

For more details, see our Neofabricia myrtifolia species page.

Plant of the month 5/2020: Aidia racemosa

Photo: John Elliott

While the hills around Townsville are still very green, not many species are flowering or fruiting now. An attractive exception is Aidia racemosa. Its colourful fruits caught John Elliott’s attention this week (mid-May) out at Cape Cleveland, and earned it Plant of the Month status. The strongly perfumed flowers were photographed in January.

Photo: John Elliott

See our species page for more details about Aidia racemosa

Plant of the month 04/2020: Nauclea orientalis the “coronavirus tree”

Our regular meetings and outings remain suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions. To lighten the mood we chose a Plant of the Month that represents the cause of the global pandemic. But don’t worry, the plant presents NO infection risk!

Nauclea orientalis, the Leichhardt tree, was dubbed the “coronavirus tree” by our friends at the Bush Garden Nursery. They noticed a curious visual similarity between a coronavirus image and the tree’s spherical flower heads.

"Australia's 'coronavirus tree' " an image created by Julia Hazel as a derivative of "Nauclea orientalis" by Tony Rodd used under CC-BY-SA, and "Computer render of SARS-CoV-2 virus" by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the public domain. This image is licensed under CC-BY_SA Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
CC-BY-SA attribution * below

The size difference is vast. Nauclea flower heads are golf ball-sized, while coronavirus particles are so tiny you would need an electron microscope to see them. But that’s not something to try at home.

Nauclea orientalis is an impressive tree in its own right. You can find botanical details and more photos on our species page.

* Image “Australia’s ‘coronavirus tree’ ” created by Julia Hazel as a derivative of “Nauclea orientalis” by Tony Rodd used under CC-BY-SA, and “Computer render of SARS-CoV-2 virus” by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the public domain.