Elaeocarpus eumundi (Elaeocarpaceae)

Elaeocarpus eumundi IMG_7241

Very ornamental species of native Quandong with small-ish fruits.

Posted in Elaeocarpaceae (Quandong family), Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Ornamental Plants | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Croton insularis (Euphorbiaceae)

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A very attractive tree because of the leaves with covered with silvery scales, particularly on the underside. Like it’s relative Croton triacros, this species is a successional species.

Another distinctive feature of the species is the two protuberances or glands (technically called extrafloral nectaries) on the side of the leaf stalk near the base of the leaf blade.

Croton insularis DSC_0027

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Laccospadix australasicus (Arecaceae)

Laccospadix australasicus IMG_7261

A beautiful endemic undersotrey palm of wet mountain forests, one of the common names for this palm is the Mountain Mist Palm, inciting visions of the elegant silhouette against the dense evening mountain fog of upland rain forests.

Laccospadix australasicus IMG_7262

The red fruits of this palm are highly striking and are regularly arranged around bold hanging spikes that emerge from the crownshaft.

This palm is highly deserving of cultivation.

Posted in Arecaceae (Palm family), Endemics, Lifeform - Palms, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Ornamental Plants | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dysoxylum oppositifolium (Meliaceae)

Dysoxylum oppositifolium DSC_0804 (2)

For anyone starting to learn the tropical flora, there is nothing as infuriating as having species that do not fit the well-known family characters. But such species occur regularly in environments as diverse as a rain forest.

In terms of non-reproductive characters, the family of the famed Mahoganies (Swietenia spp.) and Red Cedars (Toona cilata) is characterized by alternately arrange compound leaves with a terminal leaflet. The Pink Mahogany (Dysoxylum oppositifolium) breaks these rules. [Read more about learning FNQ’s local Mahoganies]

It has opposite compound leaves and does not often have a terminal leaflet. This features makes this species esasily confused with Flindersia (eg. Flindersia braleyana), which is from the Orange family (Rutaeceae).

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But once this divergence is noted, the species becomes a known friend, and additional distinguishing features become apparent. And one might find that the Pink Mahogany is actually one of the most distinctive members of the Meliaceae in the region.

Unlike Flindersia, the Pink Mahogany does not have old dots. Also, the Pink Mahogany has a very regular occurence of hairy “armpits” (or foveoles) on the leaves where the veins come off the midrib.

Dysoxylum oppositifolium DSC_0807 (2)

Posted in Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Meliaceae (Mahogany family) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Pothos brassii (Araceae)

Pothos brassii DSC_0082

A slender vine found in rainforest understoreys, this endemic has a rather restricted distribution. I have only had the pleasure of seeing it at Cooper Creek in the Daintree.

Posted in Araceae (Aroid family), Endemics, Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Climbers | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Callicarpa pedunculata (Lamiaceae)

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Callicarpa pedunculata (also known as Velvet Leaf) is a common successional species of shrub, that grows in disturbed rainforest and giant eucalypt forests. As the coomon name suggests, the leaves have a velvety feel.

The leaves are oppositely arranged, somewhat ovate-shaped, and are toothed on the margins.

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Purple fruits

Posted in Habitat - Rain forest, Lamiaceae (Mint family), Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dawsonia polytrichoides (Polytrichaceae)

Dawsonia polytrichoides Mt Hypipamee DSC_0670

It is always a pleasure to see a primitive plant and realize that wigs were not modern inventions!

The family of mosses known as the Hairy cap mosses (Polytrichaceae) have probably been wearing wigs since probably 300 million years back, or possibly further [See an interesting article].

The “wigs” or more accurately the calyptras that over the capsules are just one aspect of these mosses’ fascinating morphology. Beneath these calyptras are a cap which will fall off to expose the teeth on the mouth (or peristome) of the capsule. But instead of a row of sharpish teeth that one might expect to see from a cookie monster, the peristome teeth of Dawsonia are fine and clustered into a hair-like turf.

Dawsonia polytrichoides Mt Hypipamee DSC_0674
On some plants in a colony, the tips of the shoots become modified into a bowl or cup-like structure to hold the male sexual bits (not clearly visible). This is called a splash cup as the male bits are dispersed by raindrops slashing them out of the cup and onto another plant containing the female bits.

Dawsonia polytrichoides Mt Hypipamee DSC_0675
Peristome teeth of a Dawsonia capsule

Posted in Mosses and allies Families, Polytrichaceae (Hairy Cap Moss family) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment