Plant of the Month — May 2018 Eucalyptus rhodantha Blakely & H.Steedman — Rose Mallee

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Plant of the Month — May 2018 Eucalyptus rhodantha Blakely & H.Steedman — Rose Mallee
Plant of the Month — May 2018 Eucalyptus rhodantha Blakely & H.Steedman — Rose Mallee

Find out more about Eucalyptus rhodantha Blakely & H.Steedman




Eucalyptus rhodantha (Rose Mallee) is a small, spreading mallee growing to 3m high with contrasting silver-grey foliage and large, pendulous red flowers. It can be seen flowering from early May in the north-western parts of the wheat-belt and southern parts of the Geraldton sandplain where its often found in small pure communities in flat and gently undulating country.

The Rose Mallee is uncommon in the wild, but the red filaments and silvery leaves make this a desirable shrub in gardens, particularly in the drier areas. It can be distinguished from the equally showy Eucalyptus macrocarpa by the long peduncle and pedicels and slightly smaller buds and fruits. Several species of birds and small mammals pollinate the flowers.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Eucalyptus rhodantha Blakely & H.Steedman




Plant of the Month — April 2018 Dioscorea hastifolia Endl. — Warrine

Find out more about Dioscorea hastifolia Endl.


Dioscorea hastifolia (Warrine) is a dioecious (with separate male and female plants), tuberous, twining vine growing to 3 m high. Sprays of small, yellow flowers are produced from April to July.

Endemic to WA, Warrine often grows in granitic and basaltic soil in open forest, woodland and shrub communities. It occurs from south of Perth to Shark Bay and inland to the wheat-belt.

Warrine produces cylindroidal tubers, sometimes known as native yams, that grow to 10-25 cm long and were eaten raw or lightly roasted by local Aboriginal groups.

The genus Dioscorea contains roughly 600 species, which are mostly distributed in the tropics but some occur in temperate zones.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Dioscorea hastifolia Endl.




Plant of the Month — March 2018 Martensia denticulata Harv.

Find out more about Martensia denticulata Harv.


Martensia denticulata (Toothed Martensia) is a delicate, membranous red seaweed that can be found in shallow water on relatively high energy coasts in the Perth region. The genus is one of the more unusual and attractive of the red algae, as it produces a netlike region from the margins of a solid blade, with the two regions occasionally alternating. Thalli of Martensia denticulata are a pale pink colour, but often have a bluish tinge when viewed underwater. The spherical structures visible in the photo are reproductive structures that arise after the female plants have been fertilized.


Martensia belongs the family Delesseriaceae, a widespread red algal family that includes numerous spectacular seaweeds, most prolifically in colder seas but many species can also be found in the tropics.

Photo: J. Huisman

Find out more about Martensia denticulata Harv.


Plant of the Month — February 2018 Ottelia ovalifolia (R.Br.) Rich. — Swamp Lily


Find out more about Ottelia ovalifolia (R.Br.) Rich.


Ottelia ovalifolia (Swamp Lily) is a perennial or annual, tufted, aquatic plant with floating leaves and flowers. The solitary flowers arise from the base of the plant and feature three bright, white petals with a contrasting maroon or yellow base.


The Swamp Lily is found throughout mainland Australia, where it grows in still and slowly flowing fresh water to 1 m deep. It can be seen in local wetlands around Perth throughout the summer period, particularly as water systems begin to dry.


The genus Ottelia belongs to the family Hydrocharitaceae and contains approximately twenty species that are found mainly in the tropics and subtropics, with just two native species O. ovalifolia and O. alismoides growing in Australia.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Ottelia ovalifolia (R.Br.) Rich.

Plant of the Month — January 2018 Thelymitra fuscolutea R.Br. — Chestnut Sun Orchid


Find out more about Thelymitra fuscolutea R.Br.


Thelymitra fuscolutea (Chestnut sun orchid) is a late flowering orchid growing to 20–30 cm high, with broad, leathery, bright green to yellowish green leaves. The delicate flowers, on show from November to January, are pale brown and yellow, often chestnut in colour, with a dense tuft of whitish column hairs.


The Chestnut sun orchid is endemic to southwestern WA where it is uncommon, but moderately widespread and well conserved. It occurs just north of Perth to just east of Albany, where it grows in coastal heath, forests and often around the edges of winter-wet swamps, but also in adjacent drier areas.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Thelymitra fuscolutea R.Br.



Plant of the Month — December 2017 Viminaria juncea (Schrad. & J.C.Wendl.) Hoffmanns. — Swishbush

Find out more about Viminaria juncea (Schrad. & J.C.Wendl.) Hoffmanns.


Viminaria juncea (Swishbush) is a tall, glabrous shrub to 5 m high with pendulous branches and slender, wiry branchlets. Sprays of bright yellow, pea-shaped flowers are produced from November to January.

Swishbush is a unique species, being the only Viminaria known. The species name is derived from the Latin juncus, meaning ’rush‘, referring to the rush-like branches. It is widespread across Australia, occurring in all states but not the NT. In WA it can be found from Geraldton to Esperance in a variety of habitats, but often in winter-wet depressions or near lakes.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Viminaria juncea (Schrad. & J.C.Wendl.) Hoffmanns.


Plant of the Month — November 2017 Boronia heterophylla F.Muell. — Kalgan Boronia


Find out more about Boronia heterophylla F.Muell.


Boronia heterophylla (Kalgan Boronia) is a slender, branched shrub growing to 2 m high. It produces sprays of pendulous, bright pink, bell-shaped flowers from September to November. The flowers, while not as strongly scented as the better-known Boronia megastigma (Scented Boronia), are highly perfumed and the leaves are aromatic when touched. Boronias are part of the Rutaceae family, of which citrus are also members.

Kalgan Boronia is endemic to south-west WA and occurs predominantly in the Albany region, with a disjunct population around Busselton. It can be found growing on wet flats and near watercourses in jarrah forest.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Boronia heterophylla F.Muell.





Plant of the Month — October 2017 Grevillea eryngioides Benth. — Curly Grevillea

Find out more about Grevillea eryngioides Benth.


Grevillea eryngioides (Curly Grevillea) is a suckering shrub that grows to 0.5­­–2m tall, with stiffly lobed, bright, blue-grey leaves that create an attractive foliage contrast against the surrounding bush. When George Bentham first described this species in 1870 he thought the foliage bore a resemblance to that of the genus Eryngium (Apiaceae), which inspired his choice of name.

This interesting species produces long flowering stalks to 2m high from September to November, with flowers and fruits that are copiously viscid and sticky to touch. The perianth is purple in colour with green styles that have a purplish-black pollen presenter. Curly Grevillea is widely distributed in inland areas of the southwest, from Morawa to west of Coolgardie and south to Lake King, where it grows in heath or shrubland, in sand or laterite soils.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Grevillea eryngioides Benth.






Plant of the Month — September 2017 Pimelea physodes Hook. — Qualup Bell

Pimelea physodes (Qualup Bell) is an erect, spindly, shrub growing to a metre high. It occurs mostly in the Fitzgerald River National Park where it can be quite common, and flowers from July to October.

The small flowers occur in clusters at the ends of the branches and are enclosed by large, reddish-purple, leafy bracts that produce showy, bell-shaped, pendulous flower heads, making this species perhaps the most spectacular member of the genus.

The species epithet is from the Greek physodes meaning ‘bellows-like’, referring to the inflated shape of the flower head. The flower shape bears a striking resemblance to some of the species in Darwinia, particularly Darwinia macrostegia. This similarity demonstrates a degree of parallel evolution, with both genera adapting to bird pollination.

Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Pimelea physodes Hook.


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Plant of the Month — August 2017 Chamaescilla maculata Red-Spotted Squill

Find out more about Chamaescilla maculata R.W.Davis & A.P.Br.



Chamaescilla maculata (Red-Spotted Squill) is a small, tuberous, perennial herb growing to 7 cm high. It is currently only known from two populations between Jurien Bay and Kalbarri, where it occurs in low heath with herbs, in boggy, seasonally wet areas. The small, delicate, white flowers can be seen from July-September. The fruits are produced from late winter to early spring.


The species epithet is from the Latin maculatus (spotted) in reference to the reddish to purple markings at the ends of the perianth, mostly on the abaxial surface.


Chamaescilla maculata, a conservation listed taxon, was described this year by Departmental staff Rob Davis and Andrew Brown in our journal Nuytsia.


Photo: R. Davis

Find out more about Chamaescilla maculata R.W.Davis & A.P.Br.





Plant of the Month Flowering CalendarPlant of the Month — July 2017

Bossiaea dentata (Elegant Bossiaea) is an erect shrub that can grow to 3 m high, with stems often arching upwards and outwards, or it can be low and spreading, sometimes prostrate and wind-pruned in exposed coastal areas.

The large pendulous flowers, on show from July to November, make this a very distinctive species. The flower colour can vary markedly with age, often a green or greenish-yellow when young, the flowers can transform to a salmon pink and then to dull red or deep burgundy as they mature. The large pendulous flowers, together with the reduced size of the standard petal relative to the wing and keel petals, plus the elongated pink to burgundy wing and keel petals, all suggest that B. dentata is pollinated by birds.

The genus Bossiaea belongs to the family Fabaceae and B. dentata occurs along coastal regions from just west of Albany to east of Esperance and on some of the off-shore islands, especially in the Recherche Archipelago.



Photo: R. Davis Text: C. Parker 

Find out more about Bossiaea dentata (R.Br.) Benth.

Go to Calendar





To celebrate 10 years since the inception of Plant of the Month Flowering Calendar, the Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife's Herbarium presents a new way to access these pages—a visual conspectus, or the beginnings of a flowering calendar.



© The WA DPAW Flora database


June 2017s "Plant of the Month" went to Jasminum calcareum (Poison Creeper) is an erect suckering perennial herb growing to one metre high. It produces sprays of white flowers that were described as “fragrantissimi” (very fragrant) by F.J.H. von Mueller when he first published this taxon in 1859. This species occurs in NT, Qld, and WA, where it can be found on rocky or calcareous soils in Eremaean regions and along coastal areas from Geraldton to Broome.


In addition to the striking flowers, the plant produces succulent, very dark purple to black fruits that are toxic to humans if ingested.

The genus Jasminum (Jasmine) consists of shrubs and vines and belongs to the family Oleaceae (olive family). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of Eurasia, Australasia and Oceania. Find out more about Jasminum calcareum F.Muell.


For this and so much more, head over to the FloraBase website and start browsing around.

https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/


Information is sourced from the FloraBase©. Morangup.com.au conforms to the “fair use” copyright guidelines as prescribed for copyright reproduction by the Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Parks and Wildlife.






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