Friday, April 4, 2014

Zieria aspalathoides

Zieria aspalathoides

Family - Rutaceae

Common name - Whorled Zieria

Flowers and fruit - 4-petalled flowers are pale to deep pink. Fruit has 4 segments. Flowering period is late winter to early summer.

Leaves and stems - Two groups of 3 leaves are whorled around the stem, with margins revolute (rolled under). When touched, the leaves have a strong smell. Branches are ridged.

Habit and habitat - Zieria aspalathoides is a neat shrub to about 1m, growing in sandy soil, often among rocks, in heath and sclerophyll forest.

The arrangement of leaves of Zieria aspalathoides

The underside of the leaves with downward rolled margins

4-segmented fruit of Zieria aspalathoides

Zieria aspalathoides growing in The Pilliga

Myoporum montanum

Myoporum montanum - Western Boobialla

Family - Myoporaceae

Common name - Western Boobialla

Flowers and fruit - Single or several white tubular flowers to 8mm diameter on short stalks in leaf axils. Fruit is ovoid, but sometimes irregularly indented, smooth and light purple to reddish purple. Flowering period is winter to summer. I have seen Myoporum montanum flowering over several months, with plants in one area of The Pilliga flowering at different times to those of other areas of The Pilliga.

Leaves and stems - Leaves can be up to 14cm long, have entire margins, and are hairless. Limbs branch from a single stem. Stems and leaves are often purplish.

Habit and habitat - Myoporum montanum is a shrub or small tree to 8m but generally smaller, from 2 to 4m, growing in a variety of habitats from mallee to cypress and box communities, and is widespread.

Several flowers in leaf axils on short stalks - note the purplish stem and leaves

Leaves of Myoporum montanum

Fruit of Myoporum montanum

Irregular shape of some fruit of Myoporum montanum

Myoporum montanum in The Pilliga

Eremophila debilis

Eremophila debilis

Family - Myoporaceae

Common name - Winter Apple

Flowers and fruit - I have only seen this plant with white flowers, but PlantNet records them also as mauve. 1 or 2 flowers are borne in leaf axils on short stalks. Calyx has long lobes. Fruit is ovoid and ripening to pink or purplish. Flowering period is spring and summer.

Leaves and stems - Eremophila debilis has prostrate stems up to 1m long spreading from a thick rootstock. Leaves are alternate, 3 to 6cm long, and margins often have scattered 'teeth'.

Habit and habitat - Eremophila debilis is a hairless, prostrate plant often forming large, dense mats. It grows in box and White Cypress (Callitris glaucophylla) communities on a variety of soils. I have noticed that if there is one Eremophila debilis plant, there are generally several scattered over a small area.

Notice the long lobes of the calyx of Eremophila debilis

Fruit of the Winter Apple. Notice leaves have a few marginal 'teeth'

And notice that the leaves on this plant have entire margins without teeth

Prostrate, spreading habit of Eremophila debilis

Chloanthes parviflora

Chloanthes parviflora at the Sandstone Caves

Family - Lamiaceae

Common name - Nil

Flowers and fruit - Tubular flowers are 15 to 30mm long, pale mauve - small purple spots and short hairs inside the tube. I have not observed the fruit. Flowering period is mainly September to November.

Leaves and stems - Leaves are linear with upper surface wrinkled and lower surface white and woolly often concealed due to revolute margins. Leaves are upright, sometimes pressed against the stem. Stems are concealed by leaves - woody at base of shrub.

Habit and habitat - A shrub less than a metre tall growing in poor sandy and gravelly soils in heath.

Distinctive leaves of Chloanthes parviflora

Chloanthes parviflora in The Pilliga

Daviesia genistifolia

Daviesia genistifolia - Broom Bitter Pea

Family - Fabaceae (Faboideae)

Common name - Broom Bitter Pea

Flowers and fruit - Small yellow and red-brown flowers are borne in leaf axils on short stalks. Seed pods are triangular. Flowering period is from August to October.

Leaves and stems - Leaves are reduced to spikes, rigid, and sharp. Stems and spines are striated.

Habit and habitat - Daviesia genistifolia is a low, multistemmed shrub which grows in open woodland.

Notice the striations in the stem and spines of Daviesia genistifolia

Unripe seed pods of Daviesia genistifolia

Daviesia genistifolia (Broom Bitter Pea) flowering in The Pilliga

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta

Male Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta

Family - Casurinaceae

Common name - Nil

Description - Male and female flowers are on separate plants. Photographs here show male and female 'flowers' and cones. Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta is a shrub to small tree often with weeping habit, from 1 to 5m tall. It is common in localised areas in The Pilliga growing on sandstone ridges and hillsides, and low open woodland. I took these flower photos in June and July.
Female 'flowers' of Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta

A close up of the male parts

Unopened cones of Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta

Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta

Male Allocasuarina diminuta subsp. diminuta

Acacia mariae

Acacia mariae - Golden-top Wattle

Family - Fabaceae (Mimosoideae)

Common name - Golden-top Wattle

Flowers and fruit - Single globose (spherical) golden flower heads in phyllode (leaf) axil. Pods are green and leathery turning brown and crisp when ripe - flat, and 3 to 6cm long. Flowering period is July to October.

Leaves and stems - Acacia 'leaves' are not true leaves, and are called 'phyllodes'. Phyllodes of Acacia mariae are silver grey with a covering of matted hairs, straight or curved and lanceolate, sometimes pressed upwards to the stem. Branches are smooth and grey.

Habit and habitat - An erect or spreading shrub about 1m tall, but can be taller. Acacia mariae is widespread and common in The Pilliga in open woodland and sandy soils, and can present a spectacular sight in flower.

Flower heads are single on 1cm stalks, leaves often pressed upwards

Ripe seed pods of Acacia mariae in The Pilliga

Acacia mariae (Golden-top Wattle) is a showy species
Acacia mariae putting on a spectacular show in the eastern Pilliga

Maireana decalvans

Maireana decalvans - Black Cotton Bush in The Pilliga

Family - Chenopodiaceae

Common name - Black Cotton Bush

Description - An erect or spreading perennial shrub to 1m, but generally smaller. The fruiting structure is a flat, circular 'wing', pale green to pink, drying to black, with one radial slit. Leaves are up to 10mm long and succulent. It is widespread in dry open country.

Notice the one radial slit in the hairless fruiting perianth

Maireana decalvans - Black Cotton Bush

Maireana decalvans in its natural habitat in The Pilliga

Agave americana

Agave americana at 'The Aloes Picnic Area' in The Pilliga
Agave americana is an introduced plant, an escaped garden plant, which originated from Mexico.

Family - Agavaceae

Common name - Century Plant

Description - Blue-grey succulent leaves are lance-shaped, 1 to 2m long, with toothed margin and terminal spine. A robust flower spike to 5m tall appears in summer or autumn. Many flowers are clustered on branchlets. This introduced weed plant occurs around old habitations, roadsides and inland areas. It spreads thickly, crowding out native species.

Note - The Picnic/Rest Area in The Pilliga called 'The Aloes' has been wrongly named for the Agave that grow there, rather than Aloes.

Roadside Agave americana near Baradine

Agave americana growing at 'The Aloes' Historic Site in The Pilliga

Correa glabra var. glabra

Correa glabra var. glabra at Dandry Gorge

Family - Rutaceae

Common name - Rock Correa

Flowers and fruit - Flowers tubular, pale green, 15 to 30mm long, petals united, with protruding stamens. Calyx is cup-shaped without lobes. Flowering is sporadic - I photographed these flowers in early July.

Leaves and stems - Leaves are dark green, shiny, and slightly sand-papery. Stems of the shrubs I found were tomentose (fluffy).

Habit and habitat - Erect shrub nearly to 2m. Found on slopes, open woodland and rocky habitats.
The top side of the leaves of Correa glabra var. glabra

The underside of leaves, and branches, of Correa glabra var glabra

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bossiaea rhombifolia subsp. concolor

Bossiaea rhombifolia subsp. concolor

Family - Fabaceae (Faboideae)

Common name - Nil

Flowers and fruit - Typical 'pea' flowers are bright yellow and crimson, born singly in leaf axils on very short stalks. Pods are obovate up to 25mm long. (According to PlantNet, flowers sometimes lack dark markings.) Flowering period is July to October.

Leaves and stems - Bluish-green or green leaves, longer than they are wide, are alternate on tiny stalks on round or slightly flattened stems. The leaves are often folded upwards along midrib. Stems are green to reddish-brown.

Habit and habitat - A hairless shrub about 1m tall, Bossiaea rhombifolia subsp. concolor grows mainly in dry sclerophyll forests. This plant flowers profusely and is an attractive plant in the bush, especially en mass.

Note: There are 2 subspecies of Bossiaea rhombifolia recorded in The Pilliga. Subspecies rhombifolia has leaves that are nearly as wide as they are long, whereas, subspecies concolor (featured here) has leaves considerably narrower than they are long. I have not yet (March 2014) observed subspecies rhombifolia.
Bossiaea rhombifolia subsp. concolor

Stems are sometimes flattened, and leaves sometimes folded upwards

Unripe fruit of Bossiaea rhombifolia subsp. concolor

Bossiaea rhombifolia in its natural habitat in The Pilliga

Lycium feroissimum

Lycium feroissimum (African Box-thorn) a noxious weed

Lycium feroissimum originated from southern Africa and is a declared noxious weed in all of NSW.

Family - Solanaceae

Common name - African Box-thorn

Flowers and fruit - White to mauve tubular flower 10 to 12mm long with protruding stamens. Fruit is an orange-red berry 5 to 10mm diameter containing many seeds. Lycium feroissimum flowers and fruits at any time through the year.

Leaves and stems - Leaves are usually clustered, 10 to 40mm long and 4 to 10 mm wide. Stems are woody when mature, and bear sharp, stout spines.

Habit and habitat - Dense many-branched shrub to 4m high. Grows in agricultural, pastoral and urban wasteland, as well as open woodland.
White/mauve flower with protruding stamens

Fruit are eaten by birds which disperse seeds of this noxious weed

Spines are very sharp