Flora - Autumn
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Based on Debenham C’s, The Language of Botany, A Publication of The Society for Growing Australian Plants, Chipping Norton NSW, c.1962.
Botanical Name: Acacia terminalis
Commonly Called: Sunshine wattle
Botanical Family: Mimosaceae
Grows: This spreading bush or small tree grows 1 to 4m high by 1 to 3m wide.
Foliage: The leaves are bipinnate with 2 to 6 pairs of 5 to 10cm long pinnae, each with 10 to 25 pairs of leaflets. These 8 to 12mm long narrow elliptical, acuminate leaflets are leathery with dark green upperside, pale green underside and have angular stems.
Flora: The spherical flowers are cream to bright yellow or rarely pink, arranged in axillary or terminal panicles.
Flowering Season: The flowers appear in early autumn through to early winter.
Fruit: The fruit are seeds enclosed in oblong, straight, reddish, wrinkled pods, 6 to 10cm long by 10 to 12mm broad.
How and where it grows: Widespread from the coast to the lower highlands, in various habitats. Also Vic, NSW.
Where to See: It may be found throughout Tasmania, especially in dry sclerophyll areas, most lower National Parks (NP) and many city bushland parks and gardens. Lower areas of Wellington Park; Cascade Walking Track, South Hobart; Freycinet, Tasman and Rocky Cape NPs; St Helens area.
Other notes: Fast growing but often short-lived. Subject to borer attack and this may often shorten life. This species has the largest leaflets of all the Tasmanian bipinnate Acacia species and the largest seed of all Tasmanian Acacia species. Prune for shape. It is a revegetation species suitable for rocky sites such as disused quarries.
Botanical Name: Allocasuarina littoralis
Commonly Called: Black sheoak
Botanical Family: Casuarinaceae
Grows: This dioecious or monoecious bush or small tree grows from 5 to 10m high by 2 to 6m wide.
Foliage: The bark on the main trunk is sometimes segmented by deep grooves. The branches have residual slightly raised rings from where the leaf-teeth grew. The 6-8 narrow to broadly triangular non overlapping leaf-teeth are borne on furrowed, upright or drooping, hairy branchlets.
Flora: The male flowers grow in terminal spikes 1 to 3cm long on the tips of the branchlets. The whorls of bracts of mature male flowers do not overlap. The resulting brown colouring causes a dramatic change in the appearance of the tree.
The female flowers are crowded red tufts, usually on the upper surface, at the end of short lateral branches.
Flowering Season: The flowers are usually seen in Autumn.
Fruit: The fruit is a cylindrical cone 1 to 4cm long, with rounded blunt valves.
How and where it grows: Although this is mainly a coastal tree growing in poor, well drained sandy soils, it is also found in tall heath and woodland. It is also found in Vic, NSW and Q.
Where to See: Widespread in eastern half of Tasmania, Bruny Island, Tasman, Forestier and Freycinet Peninsulas; Maria Island, many Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and surrounding area bushland parks including Knocklofty and Peter Murrell Reserves; and many home gardens.
Other notes: An erect tree, the branchlets of which are generally shorter with shorter segments and fewer leaf-teeth than A. verticillata. The cones of this species have blunt valves, whereas A. verticillata cones have sharp tipped valves. This is a good specimen tree for a large garden and can provide light shade.
Botanical Name: Allocasuarina verticillata
Commonly Called: Drooping sheoak
Botanical Family: Casuarinaceae
Grows: The trees of this dioecious species are beautiful and pendulous and can grow from 4 to 10m high and spread from 3 to 6m wide.
Foliage: The dusky green branchlets are up to 45cm long with pubescent furrows and 9-12 sharp leaf-teeth at each joint along the branchlet.
Flora: The male flower spikes may be up to 12cm long, the anthers give a yellowish appearance to the flowering tree.
The short stalked, white female flower buds grow to 2 to 3mm diameter then shed their sepals to reveal spikey pistils which grow into tufts of reddish brown styles. They occur along some branches and branchlets, sometimes in small clusters, other times solo.
Flowering Season: The flowers are mainly seen in autumn, however some plants flower in winter and others in spring
Fruit: The fruit are cylindrical cones 2 to 4cm long by 2 to 3cm diameter, and have sharply pointed valves with points slightly curved toward the tip. The seeds have very dark brown winged edges.
How and where it grows: This species grows in many locations, from grassy woodlands and dry hills to rocky coastal foreshores. It is widespread and abundant, and also grows in SA, Vic and NSW.
Where to See: It may be seen throughout the state: Bruny, Maria and many other offshore islands; Freycinet and Tasman National Parks; Diprose Lagoon Nature, Knocklofty, Orford Convict Road and Probation Station, Orford Coastal and Orford Thumbs Reserves; many Hobart, Launceston, Devonport and surrounding area bushland parks; and many home gardens.
Other notes: An outstanding tree with furrowed bark, a spreading crown and long pendulous branches which can be accentuated by the male flowers. The cones with sharp tipped valves are a distiguishing feature. These trees are hardy in most soils and can tolerate periods of wet feet.
Botanical Name: Banksia marginata
Commonly Called: Silver banksia
Botanical Family: Proteaceae
Grows: This species is one of the most wide spread shrub or tree in Tasmania. It grows from 0.5 to 8m high by 2 to 5m wide.
Foliage: The rusty-brown young branches are villous-tomentose or glabrous, while the older grey-brown branches and trunk are smooth. Sometimes the older branches and the trunk are wrinkled or tessellated. The leaves are variable, smooth edged or serrated and leathery. The dark green leaf upperside has an indented central vein. The underside is hairy-white with conspicuous venation and rolled edges.
Flora: The flowers are compact cylindrical spikes, 5 to 10cm long and 4 to 6cm diameter. The pale yellow tepals are 14 to 14mm long, pubescent and persistent.
Flowering Season: Flowers appear mainly in autumn in most areas of the State, especially in upper altitudes. However, they also appear sprodically in late summer and early winter. The autumn and winter flowers provide excellent nectar for honeyeating birds and insects.
Fruit: The fruit are up to 150 persistent woody follicles which open to release 2 seeds with paper-like wings separated by a woody divider. Seeds may be released soon after maturity or retained until the follicle is opened by the death of the branch or tree, or by fire.
How and where it grows: The species is widespread from coast to montane throughout the state. In coastal and montane areas the bushes are often very dense from the ground up while further inland they may grow into large spreading trees. It is also found in SA, Vic and NSW.
Where to See: Many coastal and bushland areas throughout the state; many reserves and parks from sea level to 1000m, such as from the beaches and cliffs of Freycinet Peninsula to the shores of Lake St Claire or from Maria Island to the Chalet on kunanyi/Mount Wellington.
Other notes: This is an excellent garden shrub or tree with grey smooth or tessellated bark but it can need good drainage. It responds well to pruning and/or hedging for bushy shape and recovers well from pollarding. The species is sensitive to Phytophthora cinnamomi (Cinnamon fungus).
Botanical Name: Banksia serrata
Commonly Called: Saw banksia
Botanical Family: Proteaceae
Grows: A rugged shrub or small tree growing 3 to 15m high by 3 to 10m wide often branching in a forked manner.
Foliage: The young branches are densely rusty to chestnut-brown tomentose to glabrescent. The older branches have greyish thick, wrinkled, verrucose bark with vague leaf scars. The crowded tough leathery leaves have 5 to 15mm long stems and grow to 20cm long by 10 to 25 and sometimes 35mm wide. The leaf upperside is glossy green, while the underside is dull green and slightly hairy with distinctive parallel veins at right angles to the raised central vein. The margins are regularly sharply serrated.
Flora: The flowers grow in dense cylindrical spikes 8 to 18cm long and 8 to 12cm wide when in flower. The flower tepals change colour from green through cream to pale yellow with greyish tinge as they mature. The styles curve slightly downward then directly upwards.
Flowering Season: The flowers appear in late summer and through autumn and, in some seasons, into winter.
Fruit: The 5 to 25 persistent, woody, tomentose follicles grow on a thick woody axis. They are prominently exserted, broadly elliptical, 25 to 35mm long, 20 to 25mm high and 15 to 20mm wide. The follicles rarely open spontaneously, usually only after fire, to release 2 seeds with paper-like wings, separated by a woody divider.
How and where it grows: This species grows in coastal sandy areas. In Tasmania it is limited to sites between Rocky Cape and Sisters Creek. It is mainly found along the Vic, NSW and Q coastal areas.
Where to See: In the bush only in Rocky Cape National Park, a few city and suburban parks and many home gardens.
Other notes: This magnificent tree with knobby ridged bark and prominent yellow cones requires excellent drainage and tolerates some shade. It needs space to spread and responds well to hard pruning. Unfortunately it is sensitive to Phytophthora cinnamomi (Cinnamon fungus).
Botanical Name: Correa alba
Commonly Called: White correa
Botanical Family: Rutaceae
Grows: This dense, erect to spreading shrub grows 0.5 to 3m high by 1 to 2m wide. It is naturally coastal and quite rugged, tolerant of coastal salt spray and strong salt laden winds.
Foliage: The foliage is variable and leathery, 7 to 46mm long by 4.5 to 28.5mm wide, oval to round, curving inward with a blunt point. The upperside of each leaf is greyish/green, tomentose to glabrous whereas, the underside is grey due to being densely tomentose. The hairs act as a protection against salt exposure.
Flora: The 1 to 5 non-pendent flowers grow on 0.75 to 6.5mm long stalks on the tips of short branchlets. Unlike other correas, the 4 pointed petals which form in a fused, flared-top tube, do not remain fused, but split for almost their whole length and open out to form a star shape with prominent stamens. The petals are usually white but may be pale to deep pink and their undersides are tomentose.
Flowering Season: The flowers appear in late summer, mainly through autumn, to early spring.
Fruit: The fruit is a 4-valved capsule containing 4 dark seeds.
How and where it grows: Investigations have shown that there are at least three varieties of this species, two of which are found in Tasmania. The third, var. pannosa, is found in SW Victoria and SE South Australia. The two Tasmanian species differ by the features of the leaf underside hairs:
the variety Correa alba var. alba leaf underside stellate hairs are stalkless or occasionally stalked. When present, the stalks may be up to 0.05mm long. Its leaves grow 7 to 46mm long by 4.5 to 28.5mm wide and its flower petals 8.5 to 17mm long. This variety is found north of Triabunna; on the islands of eastern Bass Strait, across the north of Tasmania but not King Island and also NSW and Vic.
Correa alba var. rotundifolia has leaf underside stellate hairs with stalks up to 2mm long. Its leaves grow 5 to 28mm long by 2.5 to 27mm wide and its flower’s petals 8 to 14mm long. It is endemic to Tasmania and is found south of Dunalley; on Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas, South Arm area and Bruny Island and surrounding small islands.
In general, this species is front-line coastal, grows in gravelly sandy soil and is able to withstand salt laden winds. It also grows in SA, Vic and NSW.
Where to See: It is common around Tasmania’s North West and Eastern coasts; Furneaux and Bruny Islands; Freycinet and Tasman Peninsulas; Bicheno, Orford, South Arm and many other places; CSIRO Marine Laboratories river side gardens, and is widely planted in many parks and gardens.
Other notes: This is a hardy bush which tolerates well-drained light soils and periods of dryness. It is ideal as a hedge or windbreak plant, especially in coastal areas. Regular pruning will create bushier plants. The pink form comes true from cuttings of firm new growth. This species is known to hybridise with Correa reflexa.
Correa reflexa var. reflexa
Botanical Name: Correa reflexa var. reflexa
Commonly Called: Common correa
Botanical Family: Rutaceae
Grows: Prostrate to 3m H x 1-3m W
Foliage: Usually reflexed with indented veins and slightly recurved margins; shiny to lightly hairy on upper surface; densely hairy on lower surface; 3-5cm long, narrow to round and heart shaped.
Flora: Tubular, 2-4cm long, tips reflexed, pendulous; cream through green to shades of pink/red in colour, often with contrasting tips.
Flowering Season: Mainly autumn, also winter/spring/summer
Fruit: A 4-valved capsule containing 4 dark seeds.
How and where it grows: Widespread in understorey of dry sclerophyll. Also SA, Vic, NSW, Q.
Where to See: Throughout Tasmania’s east coast from Eddystone Point to Orford, especially slightly moister areas, Freycinet and Tasman Peninsulas; lower slopes of kunanyi/Mount Wellington, Risdon Brook Reserve, Three Thumbs Reserve near Orford; Furneaux, Maria and Bruny Islands, Tamar and Derwent Valleys, Launceston and Hobart city bushland parks, Knocklofty and Peter Murrell Reserves.
Other notes: Many forms of this species have been selected for flower colour, petal colour combination, size of flower, growth habit and other attractive features. These forms have been propagated by cuttings to retain their features. A number have been registered as cultivars and have names such as “Dusky Bells”, “Fat Fred”, “Northern Belle”. Correa reflexa var. nummulariifolia, Roundleaf correa, is endemic to Tasmania and has small heart-shaped, hairy leaves, flowers greenish white with burgundy anthers. A useful ornamental plant. Requires part-shade or sun, tolerates dry periods and some moisture, light to heavy soils. Prune for shape. Known to hybridise with Correa alba.
Dodonaea viscosa subsp. spatulata
Botanical Name: Dodonaea viscosa subsp. spatulata
Commonly Called: Broadleaf hopbush
Botanical Family: Sapindaceae
Grows: This useful shelter bush grows 2 to 6m high by 2 to 3.5m wide with large spreading branches and vertical new branchlets.
Foliage: The bark is lightly furrowed, dark brown and peels off in thin layers. The green sometimes reddish leaves are oblong to spatulate and often sticky, growing from 2 to 8cm long.
Flora: The cream autumn flowers are small and spindly in terminal clusters.
Flowering Season: Flowers may be seen mainly in autumn but may also be found in spring. The small size means they are easily missed.
Fruit: The clusters of conspicuous capsules with 3 or 4 wings are brown to bright red or pink and are very obvious in spring.
How and where it grows: Widespread from cool to arid areas usually in light forest from coast to lower altitudes. Also WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Q, NZ.
Where to See: Throughout Tasmania, especially dry hillsides, Freycinet and Tasman National Parks, Launceston and Hobart city bushland parks and gardens, Howrah Hills, Midway point, Sorell, Kellevie, Triabunna; Wellington Park lower areas, Knocklofty and Peter Murrell Reserves. It is a common shrub for home gardens, especially plants with bright coloured capsules.
Other notes: A hardy plant with sticky spatulate leaves. It requires good drainage but withstands dry periods and prefers full sun. It is readily pruned for hedging or to contain size. Propagation from fresh seeds is easy but not colour reliable for the resulting plant’s fruit. Propagation by cuttings from selected colour parents is possible.
Botanical Name: Eucalyptus ovata
Commonly Called: Black gum
Botanical Family: Myrtaceae
Grows: Usually a medium tree up to 30m H.
Bark: Rough at the base peeling in long strips to leave a cream/white surface.
Foliage: Juvenile – short stalk, elliptical to ovate, green, to 19cm long; adult – ovate to lanceolata, green, often undulate to 17cm long.
Buds: 7, diamond-shaped with conical cap.
Flowering Season: Autumn
Fruit: Obconical (inverted conical), 7mm across, valves level with rim.
How and where it grows: Widespread lowlands species in swampy areas and open woodlands, sea level to 700m. Also SA, Vic, NSW.
Where to See: Throughout Tasmania, north west and northern coastal, central, Fingal Valley, east coast, Forestier Peninsula, Derwent Valley, Hobart and surrounds, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, south east coastal, Bruny Island and occasionally up the west coast,, especially wetter areas, and many city parks and gardens.
Other notes: Distinguished by short length of rough bark and undulate leaves. Hardy to poor drainage and moderate frost.
Botanical Name: Ficinia nodosa
Commonly Called: Knobby club-rush
Botanical Family: Cyperaceae
Grows: Up to 1m H x up to 0.8m W
Foliage: Fine, bright green, rush-like, cylindrical form 15 to 100cm long by 1-2mm diameter, tufting, stiff and erect but often arching.
Flora: Dense globular or hemispherical, 7-20mm diameter with numerous spikelets, toward the end of the leaf shaft.
Flowering Season: Autumn and occasionally in other times of the year.
Fruit: A small 3 sided obovoid (egg-shaped with the broadest part at the top) nut.
How and where it grows: Widespread especially in near-coastal areas. Often close to the edges of saline or sub-saline lakes and watercourses and coastal salt-marshes. Also occurs in other sandy soil locations. Also WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Q.
Where to See: Throughout Tasmania, especially damp coastal and other sandy areas.
Other notes: In the past was known as Isolepis nodosa. Useful as stabiliser of sandy soils; provides a foliage variation in a garden situation.
Botanical Name: Lepidosperma ensiforme
Commonly Called: Arching swordsedge
Botanical Family: Cyperaceae
Grows: 1-4m L x 8-15cm W
Foliage: Variably slightly curved bottom and top but mainly flat.
Flora: Flower stems up to 2.5m H x 5-10cm W, slightly curved rib with narrow winged edges. White to cream flower heads 15-80cm L, upright or nodding.
Flowering Season: Autumn
Fruit: Obovoid (egg-shaped with the broadest part at the top) nut, reddish brown when ripe.
How and where it grows: Swamps, ditches, coastal riparian scrub, shrubby heath, shrubbery under light forest cover, near sea level to about 500m. Also Vic.
Where to See: Knocklofty Reserve, Red Hill Margate, many Reserves around the state, North West, Midlands, North East, Furneaux, East Coast, South West.
Other notes: Notable for its tall arching flower stems, especially in large swathes.
Botanical Name: Styphelia humifusa syn. Astroloma humifusum
Commonly Called: Native cranberry
Botanical Family: ERICACEAE subfamily 4 EPACIDOIDEAE Tribe 6 STYPHELIEAE Genera 14 STYPHELIA
Grows: This pretty, mounding, commonly mat-like, small plant grows 10 to 30cm high by 30 to 80cm wide.
Foliage: The branches are glabrous or finely pubescent. The leaves, 5 to 12mm long by 1 to 3mm wide are crowded, grey/green, glabrous and flat to convex. The leaves taper to a sharp point, their undersides have striate veins and their edges are ciliate with stiff bristles.
Flora: The tubular, bright red flowers are up to 2cm long with 5 spreading, erect or recurved, triangular, bearded lobes about 5mm long. The flowers grow singly or rarely in clusters of 3 in the leaf axils.
Flowering Season: The flowers are usually seen during autumn and occasionally in late summer and into mid winter in warm years.
Fruit: The fruit are small green, ovoid drupes 8 to 10mm long. They are fleshy, sweet and edible when ripe.
How and where it grows: This species is widespread in dry sandy heaths, dry sheltered dolerite hill sides, grasslands and woodlands. They are found from near sealevel and up, occasionally, to about 750m. They are also indigenous in WA, SA, Vic and NSW.
Where to See: Throughout Tasmania, especially in dry heathlands. Big Punch Bowl and Long Point, Bridport Wildflower, Diprose Lagoon Nature, Hawthorn Road Maranoa, Knocklofty West Hobart, Mortimer Bay Sandford, Mount Direction Conservation, Old Convict Road to Probation Station and Coastal Track Orford, Orford Thumbs, Peter Murrell Huntingfield, The Tarkine, Township Lagoon and Wingara Gully Reserves; Douglas-Apsley, Freycinet, Maria Island, Narawntapu, Rocky Cape, South Bruny and Tasman National Parks.
Other notes: This is a good understorey plant with bright red tubular flowers on prostrate spreading plants with greyish pointed leaves. Best in well-drained areas but can be slow and unreliable to establish. Propagation from tip cuttings is slow.