Grey Gum (Eucalyptus propinqua)
When in flower, the Grey Gum provides nectar and pollen for flying-foxes, honeyeaters, rosellas and butterflies, and is a Koala food plant.
An earlier version of this blog had mis-labelled this tree as a Rusty Gum (Angophora leiocarpa) due to the trunk colour. This tree also occurs at Denmark Hill, but has a dimpled trunk and very fine, oppositely-paired leaves.
Black She-Oak (Allocasuarina littoralis)
She-Oaks are unusual trees in that they resemble conifers (pine trees) but are actually a kind of flowering plant.
In the photo on the left, you can see the seed cones, as well as what one naturally assumes are the leaves. This assumption would be wrong however - the leaves are just tiny minute scales, and what you are looking at instead are fine branches.
The cones of Allocasuarinas form almost the entire diet of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami).
Wild Passionfruit (Passiflora suberosa)
|Wild Passionfruit, INSET: Glasswing|
The native range of this species extends from Florida and Texas in the USA, through the Caribbean, Mexico and down into South America.
Australia has a native Passionfruit (Passiflora herbertiana) that prefers wetter forests and rainforest margins. The caterpillars of the Glasswing (Acraea andromacha) feed on both native and introduced Passionfruit leaves.
Other introduced plants along the Water Tower Circuit include Mother-of-Millions (Bryophyllum delagoense), Lantana (Lantana camara) and a dense grove of Easter Cassia (Senna pendula).
Pink Bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia)
The Pink Bloodwood is a type of eucalypt, identified by its rough bark that extends from the trunk to the top branches. Its leaves are in an 'alternate' arrangement off the stem, but only just, and they can appear as almost 'opposite' when looked at from a distance.
This species seems to tolerate a variety of soil types. Smaller specimens are common on the shale deposits at Denmark Hill, but truly massive Bloodwoods also thrive on the sandy soils of Bribie Island.
The leaves form part of the diet preferred by Koalas, and the white flowers provide food for flying-foxes, parrots and honeyeaters. When fully-grown, this species also forms trunk hollows that provide valuable nesting spots for a variety of wildlife.
Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus)
Soap Tree (Alphitonia excelsa)
The name of the tree comes from the way in which the Indigenous people used it. When the leaves are crushed between your hands and a little water is added, a soapy lather is created that can be used for hygiene purposes. But the Indigenous people also used it for hunting, where they would drop the mashed up leaves into a waterhole to kill nearby fish, which would then float to the surface and become dinner for the tribe that night.
Narrow-leaved Ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra)
The tree is aptly named for its bark, which looks as metallic as iron and almost as strong!
I have been studying a related species on the coastal lowlands of Brisbane, named the Grey Ironbark (Eucalyptus siderophloia). As far as I can tell, the difference between the two trees is in the canopy, which looks finer and more wilting in the narrow-leaved variety.
Both trees attract wildlife with their feathery white flowers, but the Grey Ironbark starts flowering in the winter, while the Narrow-leaved type waits until spring.
Queensland Silver Wattle (Acacia podalyriifolia)
|Queensland Silver Wattle at pond's edge.|
Even minus the flowers however, this is still a lovely tree thanks to its silvery foliage. I found four examples of this tree on the Water Tower circuit, one alongside the woodland track and three by the Quarry Pond, pictured here.
Despite its name, the range of this species straddles the New South Wales / Queensland border and it does cross it here and there. Its beauty has ensured its introduction to places far outside of its range however, including such far-flung locales as Africa, India and South America.
Blue Flax-Lily (Dianella caerulea)
This beautiful strap-leaved plant grows through Eastern Australia and is a popular choice for native and ornamental gardens - I have two growing by my frog pond!
The three berries in the above photo are all in various stages of ripening. They are apparently edible in small quantities, and the leaves can also be used for weaving.
Purga Nature Reserve
After I had finished my 'plant walk' at Denmark Hill Conservation Park, I couldn't help but drive out to one of my favourite nature reserves nearby. Officially, Purga Nature Reserve is special because it the only protected Swamp Tea-Tree (Melaleuca irbyana) forest in the world, but I enjoy this woodland because it is unlike any other in the region. It seems almost arid in some parts, with lots of stones, dead branches and bare earth beneath the gnarled tea-tree limbs. It is also a good place to see uncommon wildlife like Lively Rainbow-Skinks (Carlia vivax) and Pied Lacewings (Porismus strigatus). Surprisingly, the area doesn't seem particularly rich in birdlife, so the forest is quiet enough to hear the creaking of old branches swaying in the wind. All of the above results in a very strange 'vibe' to the area, especially given that it is somewhat in the middle of nowhere. I'll finish this entry with a video I took of the woodland - see if you can pick up on the unusual feeling in this place: