Jun 15, 2010

Mar 10, 2010

Updating this website

The text and botanical illustrations from John and Ruth Walter's 1994 guidebook to the Park are now being added, with their kind permission.
This book is out of print but it is hoped that a new edition will become available soon.

Feb 7, 2010

Field Naturalists visit with butterfly, bird and plant lists
Nodding Saltbush Einadia nutans
Hedge Saltbush
Rhagodia spinescens

Aug 3, 2008

1. Mountain Coolibah

Eucalyptus orgadophila [Eucalyptus = well covered, referring to the cap on the bud; orgadophila = many flowers]
The small branches are clean of bark on this spreading tree, which supplies food for koalas, and is a valuable source of pollen and nectar for bees. The timber is strong and heavy but of only fair durability, and makes good fuel.
In the Mountain Coolibah area look for trees with hollows used by birds, bees and animals.
More on Mountain Coolibah, hollows for wildlife.

2. Black Orchid

Cymbidium canaliculatum [Cymbidium = boat shaped, referring to part of the flower; canaliculatum = channelled, referring to the leaves.]
Always found in a fork or hollow spout of Coolibah and Bull Oak trees and some other gums. The root system becomes massive, extending down the hollow trunks and branches. The flowers are variable in brownish/green blotched with brown or purple. These orchids prefer the drier inland areas. The bulb-like stems can be eaten, but are tasteless and gluggy. Aborigines mixed ochre paints with the juice from the stems which helped to 'fix' it.
more on Black Orchid

3. Red Olive Plum

Cassine australis var. angustifolius, [Cassine = after the French botanist Cassini, australis = southern land, angustifolius = narrow leaves]
now Elaeodendron australis var. angustifolius.
This is a small tree with shiny opposite leaves, and fruit that become bright red when mature.

more on Red Olive Plum

4. Native Olive

Notelaea microcarpa [Notelaea = southern olive, microcarpa = small seeds]
This small often crooked tree is very hardy, frequently growing in stony ground. It has, as its name suggests, blue/purplish/black olive type fruits which are eaten by birds.

5. Broad Leaved Leopard Ash

Flindersia collina [Flindersia = after Mathew Flinders (explorer/navigator), collina = growing on hills]
Called the leopard tree because the bark is shed in small patches year round giving a mottled appearance. The creamy flowers are followed by unusual prickly looking pods which open like five fingers to shed the seed. The timber is good for flooring and pick handles; and some of the other Flindersia species are used for furniture, casks, and even ammunition boxes, and oars. This tree is host to the Orchard Butterfly.
more on Leopard Ash

6. Sandalwood

Santalum lanceolatum [Santalum = fragrant, lanceolatum = narrow leaves]
A small tree with drooping branches and grey/blue leaves. White flowers become small blue/black plum shaped fruits. Sandalwood is a root parasite, attaching its roots to other plants - not harming their host. It is an excellent fodder tree for stock, being palatable and nutritious. The wood takes a good polish and is yellowish in colour, and useful for cabinet work. In Asia Sandalwood is used in the production of small ornaments and for incense sticks because of its fragrance. Aborigines burnt the leaves and branches as an insect repellent, and perhaps the incense works in the same way.
more on Sandalwood

7. Bead Bush

Spartothamnella juncea [Sparto = a broom, thamnella = scrub, juncea = resembling a rush]
an erect woody small shrub with unusual square stems, tiny leaves, and in season small red berries like very tiny tomatoes.
Notice the change to brigalow dominant woodland as you walk westward.

8. Twinleaf, Gallweed

Zygophyllum apiculatum [Zygophyllum = of the Caltrop family, apiculatum = sharp pointed apex]
This plant has succulent fleshy leaves of two leaflets. The flowers are bright yellow, and the capsules are five-angled with a seed in each section. the plant seems unpleasant to stock, though sheep graze it sometimes when it is dry. The plant will grow on opal mine spoil and may be a useful coloniser in these areas.

more about Twinleaf

9. Brigalow

Acacia harpophylla [Acacia = to sharpen (the first one named had spines and grows in Africa), harpophylla = scimitar (sword) shaped leaves]
One of our famous wattles, it is a tall tree with a silvery top and reputed to flower well when heavy rains are on the way. Sheep will eat the young suckers which appear after clearing. The wood, which supposedly smells of violets, is good fuel and makes charcoal. The bark has also been used for tanning, and also for dyeing wool and cotton in a red/brown colour. Aborigines used the wood for spears, nulla nullas, and boomerangs, as the timber is quite hard but not very durable. 'Brigalow Itch' a form of dermatitis affects some people in contact with this tree.
Brigalow is the host plant for three butterflies - Tailed Emperor, Felders Line Blue, and Daemels Blue the larvae of which are attended by ants; and this is the southern limit of this butterfly's range.
Look on horizontal branches for Tawny Frogmouths who nest in this area.
more about wattles

10. Ruby Saltbush and Berry Saltbush

Ruby Saltbush Enchylaena tomentosa [Enchylaena = fleshy, succulent, tomentose = hairy]
These plants are drought survivors and usually grow at the base of trees. They have hairy stems and leaves, which is a moisture-saving mechanism used by many arid area plants. The leaves are not grazed readily but the red berries are popular with stock and birds. The berries can also be green, yellow and black.
- seen in
February 2010

Berry Saltbush Rhagodia parabolica [Rhagodia = berries, parabolica = shape]
Leaves greyish green and rather shield shaped. Berries present anytime, and can be green, yellow, or various shades of red.

11. Ellangowan Poison Bush

Eremophila deserti [Eremophila = desert loving, deserti = dry places]
This shrub has thin branches with small warty lumps. The narrow leaves have a bitter, burning taste. Pretty white bell shaped flowers can be singly or in groups up to four, and these are followed by small yellow fruits. This plant is not browsed by stock as a rule, but seems to be most poisonous in the fruiting stage (travelling stock are more at risk). The fruits are eaten by emus and bustards (plains turkeys).

12. Broom Bush

Apophyllum anomalum [Apophyllum = very few leaves, anomalum = differing from the general pattern]
A tough shrub with small narrow leaves, and cream fragrant flowers in clusters, and a small black berry fruit. It is drought resistant and doesn't mind lopping. The young branches and berries are browsed by stock. In November and December this plant is host to the black and white migratory Caper White butterflies, and their larvae frequently cause much damage.
Keep a look out for macropods (kangaroos and wallabies) in this area.

13. Currant Bush

Carissa ovata var. ovata [ovata = egg shaped leaves] Also known as Kunkerberry.
A low dense spiny shrub with small white flowers and shiny black fruits which are sweet and edible. It is browsed by sheep and cattle, and although suspected of poisoning stock, it has not been proven toxic. It is host to the Common Australian Crow, a black and white butterfly.

Notice the change in vegetation with closed shrub on your right and more open grassland on your left as you walk to no. 17.

14. White Holly

Pittosporum rhombifolium, [Pittosporum = refers to the sticky covering on seeds, rhombifolium = diamond shaped leaves] now Auranticarpa rhombifolia Also known as Hollywood or Diamond-leaf Pittosporum
A tall dark green tree with toothed diamond shaped leaves. Small white flowers in clusters are followed by orange berries which open to expose a red interior with black seeds. These seeds are popular with birds, which assist in spreading them.
see Hollywood; Golden Hollywood

15. Wilga

Geijera parviflora [Geijera = after a Swedish botanist, parviflora = small flowers]
A small to medium size tree with a dense rounded crown and branches which hang to the ground unless they have been browsed by stock, when they have the appearance of being neatly trimmed. Leaves have a smell of peppermint when crushed. The flowers are small and white and produce a dark strong honey, and the seed pods are tiny, green, and open to show black seed. Spotted bowerbirds are fond of building their bowers in the protection of a wilga's hanging boughs. It is not certain that these birds are in the park, but they could be.

Some of the mistletoes which grow on wilgas are host to the Orchard Butterfly and the Nyza Jezebel butterfly.

16. Gargaloo

Parsonsia eucalyptaphylla [Parsonsia = after James Parsons (a botanical author), eucalyptaphylla = gum tree type leaves]
A vigorous vine growing over live or dead trees, fences, fence posts and even the ground. The pale yellow flowers have a sweet perfume, and the plant is grazed by stock. It is a host for the Blue Tiger butterfly.

see June 2008, Gargaloo

17. Queensland Cascarilla Bark

Croton insularis [Croton = seed resembles a tick, insularis = of the islands] Also known as Silver Croton due to the silver undersides of the shiny lime-green leaves.
see Silver Croton, December 2009

18. Jasmine

Jasminum didymum ssp. racemosum [Jasminum = Arabic for fragrant species, didymum = pairs, racemosum = branching]
A twining, scrambling plant with attractive white flowers which have a typical Jasmine perfume, and may be found at any time of year.

19. Wild Orange

Capparis mitchelli [Capparis = of the caper family, mitchelli = after the explorer Mitchell]. Also known as Mitchell's Bumble-tree.
A shrub with leathery green leaves, and large delicate cream flowers with many stamens which only last for a day, and golf ball size fruit on a long stem which turns from green to dark brown, and has a smell of citrus. The shrub is grazed by stock, and Aborigines ate the fruit. The timber is white, hard and too small for anything but carving and engraving. The plant is host to the Caper White butterfly, and their larvae are green with tiny yellow dots. These butterflies are eaten by Blue Wrens. Other butterflies which use this tree as a host are:- Australian Gull, Chalk White, Common Pearl White, and the Narrow winged Pearl White.

20. Peach Bush

Ehretia membranifolia [Ehretia = after George Ehret (a German illustrator), membranifolia = membranous foliage]. Also known as Thin-leaf Koda.
A small tree with pale green leaves with entire edges, which is browsed by stock and can be lopped for fodder in drought times. It has white flowers, and fruits which turn from red to black.

21. Weeping Pittosporum, Cattle Bush

Pittosporum angustifolium formerly P. phylliraioides [Pittosporum = refers to sticky seed covering, angustifolium = narrow leaved, phylliraeoides = leaf-like]. Also known as Meemeei.
A slender tree with long narrow leaves, and weeping habit. The pale yellow scented flowers produce orange apricot shaped berries. The pods open to reveal red seeds. The tree is good stock fodder. Aborigines used gum which oozed from the injured trunk or branches, ground the seeds and ate them although they are very bitter; and treated internal pains and cramps with an infusion of the leaves, seed or wood. Birds eat the seeds and spread them and they readily come up in the garden.

see meemeei, June 2008, Gumby Gumby

22. Scrub Boonaree, Holly Bush

Alectryon diversifolius formerly Heterodendron diversifolium. [Alectryon = from the Greek word for rooster (refers to the cockscomb appearance of aril on the fruit), diversifolium = leaves of differing shapes, heterodendron = different tree]
Rather sparse shrubs, with mottled grey bark. The leaves which are pink and holly shaped when young, become green and plain later. It is slow growing, and the fruits are two lobed and egg-shaped. the seeds are black. The shrub plays host to the Daemels Blue and the Felders Line Blue Butterflies.

see Scrub Boonaree