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 it 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.

Plant of the month 03/2020: Abelmoschus moschatus subsp. tuberosus

The flowers of Abelmoschus moschatus, very familiar as our group’s logo, are currently making a bright show on hillsides around Townsville, prompting nomination as our Plant of the Month.

Photo: John Elliott

These plants were almost invisible during our prolonged dry season but their hardy underground tubers (below) survive in a dormant state. They quickly sprout new growth with the onset of the wet season and have an impressive ability to find their own space amidst dense clusters of native grasses.

Photo: John Elliott

The local wild form of this species is a low-growing, trailing plant with usually watermelon-pink flowers. Its prolific flowering habit makes it an attractive addition to a sunny garden or large pot.

Photo: Julia Hazel

A different variety, also attractive but not of local provenance, can be seen in some Townsville gardens. It has taller, more erect stems and somewhat darker red flowers and was sold previously as a ‘native’ species. The true provenance of the more erect/red variety remains unknown.

See our species page for more details about Abelmoschus moschatus subsp. tuberosus.