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Plants of Central Queensland: Identification and Uses of Native and Introduced Species

Plants of Central Queensland: Identification and Uses of Native and Introduced Species

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Plants of Central Queensland: Identification and Uses of Native and Introduced Species

Longueur:
1,850 pages
6 heures
Sortie:
Apr 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781486302277
Format:
Livre

Description

Conservation and sustainable productivity are vital issues for Australia. In order to manage vegetation well from an agricultural, recreational or conservation point of view, an understanding of individual plant species is important. Plants of Central Queensland provides a guide for identifying and understanding the plants of the region so that pastoralists and others can be better equipped to manage the vegetation resource of our grazing lands.

Central Queensland straddles the Tropic of Capricorn, although many of the plants in the book will also be found outside this area, as shown by their distribution maps. The book provides information on the habit, distribution, foliage and fruits of 525 plant species. Informative notes highlighting declared, poisonous, weed and medicinal plants are included, and plants useful for bees and bush tucker are also noted. These are the most important plants you might see if you live in or travel through central Queensland.

This book has an easy-to-read, non-botanical format, with helpful photographs and distribution maps that greatly aid anyone interested in the vegetation of central Queensland. It is based on a previous work of the same title but is greatly expanded, incorporating information on an additional 285 plant species.

Sortie:
Apr 1, 2016
ISBN:
9781486302277
Format:
Livre

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Plants of Central Queensland - Eric Anderson

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In

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Whether one looks at the vegetation from an agricultural, recreational or conservation viewpoint, a knowledge and understanding of the component plants is a prerequisite to the management of the resource. Today, conservation is a vital issue, and sustainable productivity is both a personal and a national goal. Plants of Central Queensland was produced with the firm belief that, through recognition and knowledge of plants, land managers would be better equipped to manage the vegetation resource on their land.

This book provides descriptions, distributions and notes on 525 important plant species found in Central Queensland. It is based on a previous work of the same title but is greatly expanded, incorporating information on an additional 285 plant species. Most of the plants included in the book are ‘natives’. The ‘exotic’ plants included are weeds and/or are poisonous to livestock. One or more of the following criteria were used to determine a plant’s inclusion in the book:

•   It was a declared ‘noxious’ plant.

•   It was suspected/proved poisonous to stock.

•   It could indicate pasture condition, for example, lenient or moderate grazing, or overgrazing.

•   It could indicate soil and land types and agricultural/pastoral potential.

•   It could indicate salinity.

•   It could indicate past land disturbance.

•   It could have weed potential that reduced forage quantity and quality for livestock.

•   It has good fodder value for livestock.

•   It has value in stabilising creek/river banks.

Much of the information about the plants was summarised from the publications noted in the reading list and greater detail about the plants can be found in these publications. This particularly applies to poisonous plants. For further information about how poisonous a plant is and the symptoms it produces in livestock, consult Everist’s Poisonous Plants of Australia and Dowling and McKenzie’s Poisonous Plants: A Field Guide.

Where plant name changes have occurred, the previous name is provided in square brackets immediately after the current name, such as for Livistona decora [Livistona decipiens].

The ‘central Queensland’ of this book embraces a large area in the central part of Queensland straddling the Tropic of Capricorn: a region encompassing an area about 500 km north of the Tropic, 300 km south and 600 km inland from the coast. Many of the plants in the book will be found outside this area, as shown by their distribution maps. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the further a plant is located from the core area, the information provided, such as times of flowering, may be less relevant.

How to use this book

If you know a plant’s name (common name or botanical name) and want to know what it looks like, or some information about it, then it is simply a matter of looking it up in the relevant index at the back of the book.

However, if you have an unknown plant and want to know if it is in the book, then finding it becomes more difficult. To help overcome this difficulty, and to save checking every photograph in the book, the plants have been arranged in groups based loosely on similar structure, form and function.

The key below is a guide to locating the plant group in which an unknown plant might be located. Work downwards through the list.

Within each group the plants have been arranged alphabetically by botanical name. Compare the unknown plant with the photograph and read the description to help confirm identification.

Plant group

Throughout the guide, some important plant characteristics are highlighted using the symbols described below:

1. Ferns

Mangrove fern (Acrostichum speciosum)

Common maidenhair fern (Adiantum aethiopicum)

Rock fern (Cheilanthes sieberi)

Basket fern (Drynaria rigidula)

Short-fruit nardoo (Marsilea hirsuta)

Ox tongue (Microsorum punctatum)

Bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum)

Mangrove fern

Acrostichum speciosum (Pteridaceae)

Description

Habit: tall, coarse fern forming large spreading clumps from creeping rhizomes, 1–1.5 m tall.

Fronds: dark or dull green, thick, leathery, up to 2 m long, made up of smaller leaflets (up to 15 cm long); spores produced on the backs of fertile fronds as a dark brown mass throughout the year.

Habitat

In mangroves and along coastal estuaries, tolerating partial immersion by salt water; usually on the landward edges of mangrove forests, high in the intertidal zone where there is a large freshwater input.

Distribution

Northern New South Wales around the tropical coast to north-western Western Australia; also in tropical Asia.

Notes

The mangrove fern is not strictly a mangrove as a mangrove is commonly accepted as a woody intertidal plant. The only fern to inhabit the mangrove forest floor. Other ferns in mangrove forests are epiphytic (growing attached to the trunks and branches of trees).

The mangrove fern often dominates in areas that have been cleared or disturbed.

Stems were used as food, after roasting, by Aborigines. In some islands of the South Pacific the fronds have been woven to make thatch. The presence of plentiful insects make it a perfect habitat for birds such as scrubwrens and fantails.

Mangrove fern: Large spreading clumps 1–1.5 m tall

Dark brown spore mass on back of frond

Common maidenhair fern

Adiantum aethiopicum (Adiantaceae)

Other common names: small maidenhair fern, bush maidenhair fern

Description

Habit: small, delicate, soft fronded terrestrial fern, 20–60 cm tall; forms spreading patches by wiry branched rhizomes creeping near the soil surface or spreading extensively underground; stems very slender, dark brown, shiny.

Fronds: bright green, prostrate or erect, up to 40 cm long and 30 cm wide, two or three times divided; segments thin, pale green, heart or fan-shaped, outer margins lobed and finely toothed.

Habitat

River and creek banks and in damp, often semi-shady situations.

Distribution

Tropical and temperate regions in all Australian states; also New Zealand and South Africa.

Notes

This is an adaptable fern that will tolerate a wide range of conditions, although strong sunlight, low temperatures and frost will damage the fronds.

Aborigines made from the fronds a syrup that was used as a soothing medicine for coughs and colds.

A closely related and not dissimilar terrestrial fern is the rough maidenhair fern (Adiantum hispidulum). Its dull dark green fronds are harsh textured, two or three times divided, up to 35 cm long with fan shaped segments 1–2 cm long and toothed on the upper margins. New fronds are a delicate pink colour. It is found in eastern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Northern Territory; also New Zealand, Pacific Islands, tropical Asia and Africa. It grows in a variety of situations ranging from shaded rainforest to open rocky areas.

Rough maidenhair fern: Dull dark green fronds

Common maidenhair fern: Delicate pale green fronds with fan-shaped segments

Rock fern

Cheilanthes sieberi (Sinopteridaceae)

Other common name: mulga fern

Description

Habit: small fern 20–40 cm tall, forming spreading clumps; stalks dark brown to almost black.

Fronds: 15–40 cm long, narrowly triangular in outline, dark green on the upper surface, somewhat paler underneath. Under dry conditions, the fronds curl up and may look dead, but they usually expand again when it rains.

Habitat

Rocky situations in coastal and mountainous areas; also alluvial flats of fine sandy loam in the western areas of Queensland, where the plant frequently grows abundantly.

Distribution

Widespread in eastern Australia, extending from coastal areas to far inland.

Notes

Fronds of rock fern are poisonous to cattle and sheep. Most cases of poisoning occur during late winter and spring. Generally, poisoning occurs when pasture is dry and/or scarce and the fern is plentiful, especially if it is in vigorous young growth. The plant is particularly hazardous after dry periods when it may be the first green vegetation available after rain.

Rock fern: 20 cm fronds with dark stalks

Basket fern

Drynaria rigidula (Polypodiaceae)

Other common name: oakleaf fern

Description

Habit: erect fern, often in clumps; rootstock thick, fleshy; fronds of two different kinds produced alternately on the large creeping rootstock.

Fronds: brown, erect, lobed, stalkless, sterile, papery nest-leaves, 10–30 cm long, up to 8 cm wide; pale green, erect or arching, fertile, leathery foliage leaves, 60–120 cm long, divided into 30–40 segments, margins irregularly toothed.

Habitat

On the ground, often on or among rocks, or in trees, in rainforest, moist forests and open forest from the coast to the ranges and tablelands.

Distribution

Eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales; also from Malaysia to Polynesia.

Notes

The smaller lobed papery fronds collect debris to provide humus for the root system and protect the rootstock from the sun.

A very drought tolerant fern and an interesting plant for hanging baskets.

Basket fern: Growing among rocks. Stalkless, sterile nest leaves and stalked, fertile foliage leaves

Short-fruit nardoo

Marsilea hirsuta (Marsileaceae)

Description

Habit: perennial fern that looks more like a four-leaf clover, with fronds (leaves) arising from hairless or almost hairless underground creeping stems to a height of 5–15 cm.

Fronds: composed of four wedge-shaped leaflets with rounded ends, 10–15 mm long; leafstalks 2–15 cm long, often with hairs especially when young.

Fruits: small round capsule 4–5 mm long, slightly pointed to rounded or blunt at the tip, densely hairy with two teeth at the base above the point of attachment to the short stalk, which is less than 4 mm long.

Habitat

Shallow muddy pools and lagoons; mud or damp ground in the adjacent grasslands.

Distribution

Coastal and inland locations in Queensland and all mainland states of Australia.

Notes

Short-fruit nardoo is eaten by stock and, although it is suspected of being poisonous, there is no definite evidence.

The small ‘fruits’ of nardoo are rich in stored starch. In the inland they have been found in large numbers and swept up in quantity from dried swamps. The Aborigines ground them between two stones to obtain a yellow, starchy powder, which could be made into cakes.

Short-fruit nardoo: Fronds of four wedge-shaped leaflets

Ox tongue

Microsorum punctatum (Polypodiaceae)

Description

Habit: erect, medium-sized fern with creeping underground flattened hairy roots, often forming large clumps.

Fronds: leathery, usually pale yellowish-green, erect or semi-erect, 40–100 cm long, undivided, broadest towards the middle, tapering to a very slender wing at the base, the apex rounded.

Habitat

In large colonies in sandy soil in coastal swamps, on and among boulders along rainforest margins, open forests and rocky creek gullies.

Distribution

Eastern Queensland, commonest on the coast but extending to the ranges and tablelands; also from tropical western Africa, Madagascar and through tropical Asia to Tahiti.

Notes

A hardy tropical species that will tolerate exposure to full sun, but is very frost sensitive.

Ox tongue: Pale yellowish-green fronds in a large colony

Bracken fern

Pteridium esculentum (Dennstaedtiaceae)

Description

Habit: coarse, robust, perennial, with numerous, thick, scaly, underground stems.

Fronds: stiff, erect, to ~1 m high, leathery in texture, broadly triangular, very much divided, dark green, located at the top of stout, hard, brown stalks.

Habitat

Eucalypt forests, especially on alluvial flats; sandy areas near the sea. Plant density is low in forests, but increases when forest is cleared.

Distribution

All Australian states, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands; in Queensland, mainly in coastal and near-subcoastal areas.

Notes

Bracken fern is poisonous to stock, with cattle and horses most commonly affected. Most cases of poisoning occur when animals are forced by shortage of other feed to eat large amounts of bracken fern. Young leaves appear to be most poisonous, but dry ones can be deadly if eaten in sufficient quantities.

Roasted bracken roots were a staple food for the Aborigines, especially when fish were scarce. Juice from the stems, well rubbed in, was also used to treat insect bites.

Bracken fern: Stiff, erect, dark green fronds

2. Palms and cycads

Byfield fern (Bowenia serrulata)

Tree zamia (Cycas media)

Cabbage palm (Livistona decora)

Zamia (Macrozamia miquelii)

Zamia (Macrozamia moorei)

Solitaire palm (Ptychosperma elegans)

Byfield fern

Bowenia serrulata (Zamiaceae)

Description

Habit: small, palm-like plant that is not a fern; one or more leaves on long stalks growing from a short stem, which is scarcely raised above ground level.

Leaves: nearly 1 m long, fern-like; bright, shiny, green leaflets, leathery in texture with toothed margins.

Fruits: male and female cones on separate plants. Female cones are rounded, usually 10–15 cm long in groups on top of the underground stem at ground level.

Habitat

Sandy and rocky soils in rather moist eucalypt forests where the plant grows as an understorey.

Distribution

At Byfield, north of Yeppoon, and on the Atherton Tableland.

Notes

Feeding tests have shown Byfield fern can kill sheep and cattle. The leaves are commonly used as a floral decoration because of their lasting qualities.

Byfield fern: Leathery, shiny, green, fern-like fronds

Tree zamia

Cycas media (complex) (Cycadaceae)

Other common names: zamia palm, zamia, nut palm

Description

Habit: palm-like with a woody trunk, usually unbranched, 1–3 m tall; crown of many large leaves at the top of the trunk.

Leaves: feathery, palm-like appearance, up to 1.5 m long; leaflets have a distinct midrib.

Fruits: male and female cones on separate plants. Male cones are slender, oval, 12–20 cm long and set upright on top of the trunk. Female plants develop large, oval, woody fruits 2–4 cm long that hang down on velvet stems all around the top of the trunk when ripe. Ripening seeds are orange finally turning brown.

Habitat

Stony hills of eucalypt open forests and woodlands.

Distribution

Tropical and subtropical, mostly coastal and subcoastal areas of Queensland to Cape York and across northern Australia in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Notes

Recently, there has been major taxonomic revision within the Cycas media complex. Three species are now recognised. Two new species, C. sylvestris from far north Cape York Peninsula and C. megacarpa from Mt Morgan to Goomeri, have been described. C. media occurs from around Cardwell to St Lawrence. In addition populations on serpentinite between Marlborough and Rockhampton belong to C. ophiolitica. Feeding tests have shown the seeds of tree zamia to be very poisonous. Young leaves are also poisonous, but the mature or dried leaves are apparently non-poisonous. In the field, animals rarely eat the seeds unless forced to do so by lack of other feed; however, cattle often eat the young leaves. Raw seeds are highly poisonous and, as many early explorers found, they remain poisonous even after cooking, even though the taste is pleasant. The seeds had a high food value for Aborigines, who processed them to negate the poison by laborious combinations of cracking, soaking, grinding and baking. Tree zamia belongs to a group of plants known as ‘living fossils’ because the living representatives are a small remnant of a group that was very widespread in earlier geological ages.

A larval food plant of the cycad blue butterfly.

Tree zamia: Palm-like plant with woody trunk

Oval, orange, woody fruits

Cabbage palm

Livistona decora [Livistona decipiens] (Arecaceae)

Description

Habit: medium-sized tree to 20 m tall; single trunk; leaves form a dense crown on top.

Leaves: approaching 2 m in length, deeply divided into many segments, with a long stalk up to 1.5 m long with a few spines along its margins.

Flowers: creamy-yellow in dense sprays up to 2 m long arising from the leaf bases; flowering August to October.

Fruits: usually black, round, 12–14 mm in diameter.

Habitat

Areas where there is access to constant water supply, such as those with a high watertable or swampy areas; along the banks of streams in subcoastal areas.

Distribution

Mainly along coastal and near-coastal areas of eastern Queensland, from north of Brisbane to about Townsville.

Notes

Aborigines ate the young growing tip of cabbage palm raw or roasted. The leaves are used to make baskets, ornamental bracelets and neckbands.

A larval food plant of yellow palm-dart and orange palm-dart butterflies.

Cabbage palm: 10–15 m tall trees on stream bank

Creamy-yellow flower sprays arising from leaf bases

Zamia

Macrozamia miquelii (Zamiaceae)

Other common names: zamia palm, wild pineapple

Description

Habit: Palm-like, with little trunk above ground and a well-developed, thick stem beneath the surface.

Leaves: feathery and palm-like, up to 2 m long, glossy blue-green; leaflets without a distinct midrib.

Fruits: male and female cones on separate plants. Male cones are cylindrical, ~30 cm long and 7 cm wide and slightly curved. Female cones are pineapple-shaped, ~40 cm long and 12 cm wide, producing bright reddish-orange seeds.

Habitat

Eucalypt open forests with sandy or stony soils.

Distribution

Predominantly in coastal districts from about Rockhampton to northern New South Wales.

Notes

Zamia causes mortalities in the field, with both severe poisoning from ingestion of seeds and ‘staggers’ from eating the leaves. (‘Staggers’ is a swaying in cattle from loss of proper function in the hindquarters brought on by a toxin that causes damage to the spinal cord.)

Seeds were eaten by Aborigines after suitable preparation.

A larval food plant of the cycad blue butterfly.

Zamia: 2 m tall, palm-like plant with little trunk

Pineapple-shaped cone on female plant

30 cm long male cone

Zamia

Macrozamia moorei (Zamiaceae)

Other common name: zamia palm

Description

Habit: plant resembling a date palm up to 5 m tall, with leaves arising from the top of the stout trunk; trunk covered with knobbly projections of discarded leaves.

Leaves: feathery and palm-like, glossy dark green, 2–3 m long, spiny at the base.

Fruits: male and female cones on separate plants. Female cones are large, ~60 cm long, with many large seeds that ripen to a bright orange-red.

Habitat

Eucalypt woodlands with sandy or rocky soils or rocky hills of basaltic origin.

Distribution

Around Springsure and Carnarvon Gorge in central Queensland and at the head of the Clarence River in north-eastern New South Wales.

Notes

Cattle have died after eating zamia seeds, but losses from eating the leaves are less common. ‘Staggers’ (see p. 13) or ‘rickets’ is most common in seasons when large seed crops occur and fall from the trees. It is probable that leaves, particularly young leaves, would be deadly if eaten in sufficient quantity, but generally they are out of reach of cattle, except on young plants. A larval food plant of the cycad blue butterfly.

Zamia: 1.4 m tall plant resembling a date palm

Pineapple-shaped cone on female plant

Solitaire palm

Ptychosperma elegans (Arecaceae)

Other common name: elegant palm

Description

Habit: palm, 10–15 m tall; trunk grey, single, slender, woody, smooth, ringed with old leaf scars; crown dark green, small and compact, with six to eight stiff arching fronds; crown shaft pale, 50–65 cm long, with a slightly bulbous base.

Leaves: divided, feathery, 2–3 m long; leaflets dark green above and slightly paler below, 40–80 cm × 3–11 cm.

Flowers: greenish-white, in clusters in large branching sprays, fragrant; flowering August to October.

Fruits: bright red, egg-shaped, 14–18 mm long; seed distinctive with grooves running along its length.

Habitat

In the understorey, or along the edges, of lowland tropical rainforest, in moist and sheltered gullies; also found on ridges in high rainfall areas.

Distribution

Coastal and near-coastal areas of eastern Queensland from Cape York Peninsula to Sandy Cape, Fraser Island.

Notes

Useful plant to grow in semi-shaded sheltered positions. The red fruit is edible to man and eaten by birds. A larval food plant of orange palm-dart and yellow palm-dart butterflies.

Solitaire palm: 12 m tall palm in a sheltered gully

3. A

erial pl

ants

Orchids

Black orchid (Cymbidium canaliculatum)

Golden orchid (Dendrobium discolor)

King orchid (Dendrobium speciosum)

Mistletoes

Mackay mangrove mistletoe (Amyema mackayensis subsp. mackayensis)

Miquel’s mistletoe (Amyema miquelii)

Grey mistletoe (Amyema quandang)

Orange mistletoe (Dendrophthoe glabrescens)

Queensland mangrove mistletoe (Lysiana maritima)

Northern mistletoe (Lysiana subfalcata)

Leafless mistletoe (Viscum articulatum)

Elkhorn

Silver elkhorn (Platycerium veitchii)

Black orchid

Cymbidium canaliculatum (Orchidaceae)

Other common name: wild arrowroot

Description

Habit: epiphytic orchid forming large clumps on living or dead trees; roots attached to the bark or deeply penetrating hollows in trunks or branches.

Leaves: Two to six per stem, dull green or grey-green, stiff, thick, leathery, to 50 cm long.

Flowers: fragrant, variable in colour including green, brownish, red-brown or dark red with or without blotches, on stalks to 40 cm long; flowering September and October.

Fruits: capsules 3–5 cm long.

Habitat

On eucalypts extending from the coast to well inland. The black orchid is the only epiphytic orchid to tolerate such dry conditions.

Distribution

Mainly in the northern half of Australia, from central New South Wales to the top of Cape York Peninsula and westwards across the Northern Territory to Western Australia.

Notes

Aborigines chewed the bulbs of black orchid as a cure for dysentery and for the starch they contain. Pods and seeds are also edible. Juice from crushed stems is used as a fixative for ochres in bark or rock paintings.

Black orchid: Flowering clump on dead trunk

Golden orchid

Dendrobium discolor (Orchidaceae)

Description

Habit: vigorous, robust, erect tropical orchid with cane-like stems, 2–4 m tall – Australia’s tallest dendrobium.

Leaves: in pairs along the stems, light or dark green, thick, flat, 5–16 cm × 2–5 cm; sometimes the tip has a notch.

Flowers: chocolate-brown to golden-yellow, to 5 cm in diameter, up to 25 borne in long sprays; flowering mainly July to October, although can occur at any time between April and December.

Fruits: pods.

Habitat

In open habitats such as exposed coastal rock faces, open forests, mangroves, beach scrubs and rainforest margins.

Distribution

Coastal Queensland from about Gladstone, extending north to Cape York, through the Torres Strait islands to Papua New Guinea.

Notes

Although heavily collected in the wild, this species is under no immediate threat as large numbers remain in many locations.

Golden orchid: Chocolate-brown to golden-yellow flowering sprays

King orchid

Dendrobium speciosum (Orchidaceae)

Other common names: rock orchid, rock lily

Description

Habit: orchid with clumped stems 50–90 cm tall, topped with two to five leaves.

Leaves: broad, dark green, thick, leathery, up to 25 cm × 8 cm.

Flowers: erect to pendant and form into attractive, fragrant, light golden-yellow sprays to 30–50 cm long; flowering July to October.

Fruits: pods hang down and when mature develop splits that open from the bottom up.

Habitat

On trees or rocks, in rainforest, moist, open forest and even drier areas such as sandstone escarpments and gorges. Extends from coastal areas to some distance inland, and to high mountain peaks. Whatever the habitat, the plants will usually be found in areas of very strong light and good air movement.

Distribution

Extends south from north-eastern Queensland near Cooktown through eastern Queensland and New South Wales to eastern Victoria.

Notes

The king orchid has the widest distribution of any dendrobium and has the reputation of being Australia’s outstanding orchid. It is not regarded as threatened in Queensland.

Aborigines ate the pseudobulbs (stems).

King orchid: Light golden-yellow flowering sprays

Mackay mangrove mistletoe

Amyema mackayensis subsp. mackayensis (Loranthaceae)

Description

Habit: erect or spreading parasitic shrub.

Leaves: opposite, bluish-grey, leathery, narrowly oval, 2.5–6 cm × 1.2–4.5 cm, contracted at base into a round stem 3–6 mm long.

Flowers: lobes green or yellow, orange or red at base, stalkless; flowering mainly October to December.

Fruits: oval-shaped berry, ~6 mm long.

Habitat

Parasitic on the stems of mangroves.

Distribution

Common in coastal areas from Mackay to Wide Bay in Queensland.

Notes

There is another similar more widely distributed subspecies (subsp. cycnei-sinus) with smaller flowers, which occurs in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland in coastal districts from the west Kimberley to the Torres Strait islands; also in southern Papua New Guinea.

The flowers are particularly attractive to honeyeaters. The seed is dispersed by birds, especially the mistletoe bird, which deposits the sticky seeds on branches of the host trees. The plant is a larval food plant of the satin azure butterfly.

Some trees have large infestations and the general consensus is that little real damage is done unless the tree is carrying a heavy parasitic burden.

The flesh of the fruits is pleasant to eat, although the seeds are difficult to spit out.

Mackay mangrove mistletoe: Bluish-grey, opposite, roundish leaves and yellow to red flowers

Miquel’s mistletoe

Amyema miquelii (Loranthaceae)

Other common names: gum tree mistletoe, drooping mistletoe, stalked mistletoe

Description

Habit: aerial stem-parasitic shrub forming large bunches on branches of trees; stems pendulous, up to 2 m long, often taking the form of a large hanging cone; curved young growth often covered in dense white to brown hairs, but otherwise hairless.

Leaves: opposite, slender, commonly curved, 5–25 cm × 1–3 cm; leaf stalk, slender, 1–5 cm long, often pigmented yellow to red giving a bronzed appearance.

Flowers: brownish-red, in triads at ends of stems.

Fruits: cylindrical to pear-shaped berry, dull green to cream, 8–12 mm long.

Habitat

In open forest and woodlands, usually found on Eucalyptus spp., sometimes on Acacia spp. and rarely on other hosts including smooth-barked apple (Angophora leiocarpa).

Distribution

Throughout mainland Australia except Cape York Peninsula.

Notes

The flowers are particularly attractive to honeyeaters. The seed is dispersed by birds, especially the mistletoe bird, which deposits the sticky seeds on branches of the host trees. A larval food plant of silky azure, golden azure, spotted jezebel, imperial jezebel, scarlet jezebel and common jezebel butterflies.

Some trees have large infestations and the general consensus is that little real damage is done unless the tree is carrying a heavy parasitic burden.

The flesh of the fruits is pleasant to eat, although the seeds are difficult to spit out.

Miquel’s mistletoe: Pendulous clump on silver-leaved ironbark branch

Red flowers

Grey mistletoe

Amyema quandang (Loranthaceae)

Description

Habit: parasitic shrub on branches of trees; whole plant covered by short dense hairs; older parts may be hairless.

Leaves: opposite or alternate, thick and flat, greyish, 3–10 cm long, almost always densely hairy.

There are two varieties which can be distinguished by leaf width: variety quandang with a narrowish leaf, 0.8–2 cm wide, which can be found everywhere, and variety bancroftii with a wider leaf, 2–4.5 cm wide, which occurs in inland areas.

Flowers: short-stalked, brown to yellow on outside, occur in groups of two or three in the leaf forks; flowering April to September.

Fruits: slightly pear-shaped to egg-shaped, greyish, 6–10 mm long.

Habitat

Exclusively parasitic on species of Acacia; in Queensland the species most commonly involved are mulga (A. aneura), gidgee (A. cambagei) and brigalow (A. harpophylla).

Distribution

All mainland states, most commonly in inland areas.

Notes

The Aborigines bruise the leaves of grey mistletoe in water and drink the water for the treatment of fever. In time, mistletoe can cause the death of branches, and in severe cases whole trees can be killed. A larval food plant of imperial jezebel, common jezebel, spotted jezebel and satin azure butterflies.

For further information, see the notes on orange mistletoe on page 24.

Grey mistletoe: Healthy growth on a brigalow tree

Thick, greyish leaves and brown to yellow flowers

Orange mistletoe

Dendrophthoe glabrescens (Loranthaceae)

Description

Habit: a spreading to pendulous mistletoe, parasitic on branches and stems of trees; forms dense clumps.

Leaves: alternate or scattered, rarely opposite, thick, bluish-green, 3–20 cm long.

Flowers: bright orange to yellow-orange, tubular, 2–5 cm long, slightly swollen in the middle, composed of five united segments that are split about one-third of their length, in clusters of five to 20 in the leaf joints; flowering November to August.

Fruits: pink, oval berry, widest at the base, 10–15 mm long, with a single seed surrounded by a sticky layer.

Habitat

Woodlands to open forest in inland or drier coastal areas. Orange mistletoe is parasitic on various trees, but common on Eucalyptus, Melaleuca and Lophostemon.

Distribution

From east Kimberley in Western Australia, across the Northern Territory to the Torres Strait islands and southwards through Queensland to Tumbarumba in New South Wales.

Notes

Most mistletoes have bird-dispersed fruits and have developed symbiotic associations with their dispersal agents. The sticky layer around the seed is rich in glucose, providing a major source of nutrition for the birds. The main dispersal agents are the mistletoe bird and honeyeaters. Superstitions and medicinal usage extend to mistletoes generally throughout the world, but there is little indication that the plants are significant to the Aboriginal people of Australia.

A larval food plant of scarlet jezebel, common jezebel, black jezebel and purple azure butterflies.

The flesh of the fruits is pleasant to eat, although the seeds are difficult to spit out.

Orange mistletoe: Pendulous, bluish-green leaves

Bright-orange to yellow-orange tubular flowers

Queensland mangrove mistletoe

Lysiana maritima (Loranthaceae)

Description

Habit: aerial stem-parasitic shrub with spreading to erect branches.

Leaves: opposite, dull green, flat, 2–4 cm × 1.2–2.2 cm, distinct veins.

Flowers: tubular, yellow to green at ends and red towards the base.

Fruits: broad oval-shaped succulent dark berry, 8–10 mm long.

Habitat

In mangrove communities usually on Ceriops and Rhizophora.

Distribution

Endemic in coastal Queensland from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Wide Bay.

Notes

The flowers are particularly attractive to honeyeaters. The seed is dispersed by birds, especially the mistletoe bird, which deposits the sticky seeds on branches of the host trees. The plant is larval food plant of common jezebel and scarlet jezebel butterflies.

Some trees have large infestations and the general consensus is that little real damage is done unless the tree is carrying a heavy parasitic burden.

The flesh of the fruits is pleasant to eat, although the seeds are difficult to spit out.

Queensland mangrove mistletoe: Opposite leaves and tubular flowers yellow to green at ends and red towards the base

Northern mistletoe

Lysiana subfalcata (Loranthaceae)

Description

Habit: aerial stem-parasitic shrub attached to host plant by a single swollen base; stems usually drooping and sparsely branched.

Leaves: opposite, flat, 2–11 cm × 0.4–2 cm, two to four prominent veins.

Flowers: tubular, curved, yellow or reddish, 2.5–5 cm long, comprised of six segments that are united for about three-quarters of their length.

Fruits: oval to pear-shaped, pale and somewhat translucent, 0.8–1.4 cm × 0.4–0.6 cm; flowering most of the year.

Habitat

Open forest and woodlands, usually parasitic on whitewood (Atalaya hemiglauca), boonaree (Alectryon oleifolius), sandalwood (Santalum lanceolatum), native bauhinias (Lysiphyllum spp.) and several Acacia spp.

Distribution

All mainland states except Victoria, mostly in northern regions; throughout most of Queensland.

Notes

The flowers are particularly attractive to honeyeaters. The seed is dispersed by birds, especially the mistletoe bird, which deposits the sticky seeds on branches of the host trees. The plant is a larval food plant of the black jezebel butterfly.

Some trees have large infestations and the general consensus is that little real damage is done unless the tree is carrying a heavy parasitic burden.

The flesh of the fruits is pleasant to eat, although the seeds are difficult to spit out.

Northern mistletoe: Flowers on drooping branches

Opposite leaves and tubular flowers

Leafless mistletoe

Viscum articulatum (Viscaceae)

Description

Habit: parasitic shrub, drapes from branches of trees; stems green, jointed, angular, up to 1 m long, basal stems becoming round with age.

Leaves: leafless.

Flowers: stalkless and inconspicuous.

Fruits: round, translucent, yellowish berry, 4–6 mm in diameter, very sticky.

Habitat

Almost always occurs as a parasite on another mistletoe.

Distribution

From the Kimberley in Western Australia to Torres Strait islands in Queensland, and southwards to the central coast of New South Wales; also in Papua New Guinea through Malesia to eastern India and southern China.

Notes

In India leafless mistletoe has been used as an aphrodisiac. Several species of Viscum have been used in different parts of the world in folk medicine for purposes such as removing warts, lowering blood pressure and treating asthma.

Leafless mistletoe: Pendulous clump hanging on a Queensland blue gum branch

Round yellowish fruit on angular jointed stems

Silver elkhorn

Platycerium veitchii (Polypodiaceae)

Description

Habit: silvery epiphytic fern, densely covered with silky hairs.

Leaves: basal sterile fronds round to kidney-shaped, deeply lobed; semi-erect fertile fronds silvery-green, sparsely lobed, thick and fleshy.

Habitat

On rocks in drier regions of open forest, often facing west.

Distribution

Mainly semi-arid areas of central and northern Queensland west of the Great Dividing Range, in fairly isolated patches from north-west of Pentland to Blackdown Tableland and the Carnarvon Ranges.

Notes

A fairly rare, semi-desert species that does not occur in rainforest and is found in areas receiving 380–635 mm annual rainfall. It is very drought- and frost-resistant.

Silver elkhorn: Erect silver and basal round lobed frond

4. Tre

es and s

hrubs

Mangroves

Holly-leaved mangrove (Acanthus ilicifolius)

Club mangrove (Aegialitis annulata)

River mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum)

Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina)

Orange mangrove (Bruguiera gymnorhiza)

Smooth-fruited spurred mangrove (Ceriops australis)

Milky mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha)

White-flowered black mangrove (Lumnitzera racemosa)

Myrtle mangrove (Osbornia octodonta)

Small stilted mangrove (Rhizophora stylosa)

Wattles

Narrow-leaved wattle (Acacia angusta)

Blackwood (Acacia argyrodendron)

Bancroft’s wattle (Acacia bancroftiorum)

Gidgee (Acacia cambagei)

Bendee (Acacia catenulata)

Crowded-leaf wattle (Acacia conferta)

Thick-leaved wattle (Acacia crassa)

Chalky wattle (Acacia cretata)

Pretty wattle (Acacia decora)

Hickory wattle (Acacia disparrima subsp. disparrima)

Ironwood (Acacia excelsa subsp. excelsa)

Scrub ironbark (Acacia fasciculifera)

Brisbane golden wattle (Acacia fimbriata)

Yellow wattle (Acacia flavescens)

Glaucous-pod wattle (Acacia glaucocarpa)

Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla)

Silver wattle (Acacia holosericea)

Curved-vein wattle (Acacia julifera)

Black wattle (Acacia leiocalyx)

Coast wattle (Acacia leptocarpa)

Slender wattle (Acacia leptostachya)

Long-spiked wattle (Acacia longispicata)

Honey wattle (Acacia melleodora)67

Yarran (Acacia melvillei)

Nelia (Acacia oswaldii)

Myall (Acacia pendula)

Ghost wattle (Acacia platycarpa)

Smooth-leaved wattle (Acacia polifolia)

Rosewood (Acacia rhodoxylon)

Sally wattle (Acacia salicina)

Desert oak (Acacia sericophylla)

Lancewood (Acacia shirleyi)

Pilliga wattle (Acacia spectabilis)

Belalie (Acacia stenophylla)

Fine wattle (Acacia tenuissima)

Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia)

Gundabluie (Acacia victoriae)

Corkwood wattle (Vachellia bidwillii)

Mimosa bush (Vachellia farnesiana)

Prickly acacia (Vachellia nilotica)

Angophoras, Corymbias & Eucalypts

Rough-barked apple (Angophora floribunda)

Smooth-barked apple (Angophora leiocarpa)

Desert bloodwood (Corymbia brachycarpa)

Lemon-scented gum (Corymbia citriodora subsp. citriodora)

Long-fruited bloodwood (Corymbia clarksoniana)

Ghost gum (Corymbia dallachiana)

Gum-topped bloodwood (Corymbia erythrophloia)

Pink bloodwood (Corymbia intermedia)

Yellowjacket (Corymbia leichhardtii)

Rustyjacket (Corymbia peltata)

Rough-leaved bloodwood (Corymbia setosa subsp. pedicellaris)

Inland bloodwood (Corymbia terminalis)

Moreton Bay ash (Corymbia tessellaris)

Brown bloodwood (Corymbia trachyphloia)

Serpentine bloodwood (Corymbia xanthope)

Reid River box (Eucalyptus brownii)

River red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis subsp. acuta)

Dawson gum (Eucalyptus cambageana)

Coolibah (Eucalyptus coolabah)

Narrow-leaved ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra)

Gumtop ironbark (Eucalyptus decorticans)

Queensland peppermint (Eucalyptus exserta)

Broad-leaved ironbark (Eucalyptus fibrosa subsp. fibrosa)

Silver-leaved ironbark (Eucalyptus melanophloia subsp. melanophloia)

Gum-topped box (Eucalyptus moluccana)

Mountain coolibah (Eucalyptus orgadophila)

Greenvale box (Eucalyptus persistens)

Poplar gum (Eucalyptus platyphylla)

Poplar box (Eucalyptus populnea)

Black ironbox (Eucalyptus raveretiana)

Desert yellowjacket (Eucalyptus similis)

Narrow-leaved mahogany (Eucalyptus tenuipes)

Blue gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis subsp. tereticornis)

Mountain yapunyah (Eucalyptus thozetiana)

Other woody

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