Brackenridgea australiana (Ochnaceae)

Brackenridgea australiana

This endemic understorey rainforest tree is also known as the Native Ochna or the Brown Ochna. It is found from low to high altitudes (up to ~1200m) but seems very common in upland rainforest.

Despite the gloomy and drab appearance when not in flower or fruit, this tree is perhaps, or at least IMHO, one of the easiest tree to identify once the leaf venation is known. The leaf venation is like no other, with secondary nerves running out of the midrib in an almost irregular fashion, some curving up . Some may find the venation messy but there is something inextricably attractive in the vein patterning.

The flowers do not have the flair of the cultivated Ochna (Ochna serrulata) but the black ripe fruits (in this case 5 individual carpels) set against a red calyx are are characteristic of the Ochnaceae. This plant demonstrates the botanical affinities of Tropical Far North Queensland with South East Asia and South Africa, where other species of Brackenridgea also occur.

Brackenridgea australiana

Brackenridgea australiana
The distinctive very fine and dense venation

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About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
This entry was posted in Endemics, Habitat - Rain forest, Lifeform - Trees & Shrubs, Ochnaceae (Mickey Mouse Plant family) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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