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.