Plant of the month 04/2022: Hedraianthera porphyropetala

Hedraianthera porphyropetala was a highlight of our March outing to Emmett Creek, along with numerous other fascinating and seldom-seen plants. It was a “new species” for many of us and we found both flowers and fruits on it – how lucky can you get!

Photo: Julia Hazel

Hedraianthera porphyropetala (Celastraceae) in an Australian endemic, growing as an understory shrub or small tree in well-developed rainforest from NE Queensland extending south as far as NE New South Wales.

Photo: Julia Hazel

At Emmett Creek we might not have noticed its rather inconspicuous foliage (photo above) amongst the diversity of species along the bank. Fortunately sharp eyes spotted its tiny jewel-like flowers and unusual fruits, beautifully illustrated in the photo below which was taken at nearby Mackenzie Creek a few years ago.

Photo: John Elliott

Late news: a few fruit capsules collected for the Landcare nursery opened a week later (photo below) and the seeds were promtly sown. Hopefully we’ll hear about seedlings when they sprout eventually. Extra patience will be required as the species is reported to take between 6 and 12 months to germinate.

Photo: Beth Ballment

For more botanical details see the Australian Tropical Rainforest website.