Plant Nerd

Plant of the Month: What’s in the Box?

This month I’m back to our rather slow series of keys to the Eucalypts of the Hunter. if you’ve missed (or forgotten) I’ve previously done keys to Ironbarks, Scribbly Gums, Mallees, Bloodwoods (Corymbia) and the Apples (Angophora). This month we’re looking at the... read more

Plant of the Month: Not a Murder Chicken!

Despite being named for their leaves resemblance to the feathers of the Cassowary Casuarinas are unlikely to attempt to disembowel you should you startle one while out bushwalking, unlikely, but no guarantees. While they may look like pine trees, Casuarinas (and... read more

Ask a Plant Nerd: Grass

Grasses and lots of other plants can tell us a lot about soil type, fertility, moisture, land use, fire history, salinity and so on, it’s not an exact science but knowing plants and some of their ecological requirements helps us to understand our sites better and to better manage them. 

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What’s in a Name? In the lap of the Gods.

One of the more common practices in botany and zoology is to name a species after a Greek or Latin god or figure of legend, here’s a few of them.

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Plant of the Month: Would you like a cuppa?

When you’re out of tea (or coffee) you’ll pretty much use anything and that must have led to some interesting experimentation by the first colonists, I’m guessing many were tried with some very interesting results before settling on some more or less acceptable “tea” making species.

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Propped Up: Soils Ain’t Soils – Part 2

A couple of months ago I started a trial of some different “Premium” potting mixes, it has been a fairly cool start to spring so seedling growth was a little slow, and some seedlings had gotten frosted and died but most of the plants have now grown enough to see any... read more

Vines gone mad?

Do you have a native vine gone mad with the La Niña conditions we are experiencing? Native vines are an important part of our natural forests.  Photos by Dennis Mayo A tangle of native vines can provide food, shelter and nesting sites for many different species of... read more

Ask a Plant Nerd: From Little Things

Ask a Plant Nerd: From little things.  This month’s “Ask a Plant Nerd” question comes from HRLN committee member Les Pearson who asks “What’s a forb and why are they important?” The first bit is easy, a forb is a herbaceous flowering non graminoid (grass like) plant,... read more

Plant of the Month: Australian Toadflax

(Thesium australe) When most people think of endangered species they think of something like the Wollemi Pine, tall, majestic and hidden away in a remote valley in the wilderness but in truth most of our endangered plant species are small, nondescript and in places... read more

A Plant Nerd Asks (for better photos)

Apart from paperwork and reporting one of the things which annoys me the most is receiving photos of plants to identify when the plant is blurry, too small, or not showing any identifiable details.  While it is true I can identify some plants from a few hundred metres... read more

Ask a Plant Nerd: Australia’s Deciduous Trees

Our former Chair, Les Pearson, asked me yesterday about how many native deciduous trees we have and despite him not submitting the question on the appropriate form I’ll have a go at answering it anyway. So, after an extensive 20 minutes of websearching I’ve come up... read more

Ask a Plant Nerd: Eucalypts by cutting

Despite their ready germination, the main reason for using a cutting would be for the propagation of commercial hybrids.

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Good plant: Bad plant

I had a question the other day about how to tell the difference between an African Olive (Olea europea ssp cuspidata) and Mock Olive (Notelaea microcarpa), having spent quite a bit of time killing the former and trying not to kill the latter I work with the following... read more

Ask a Plant Nerd: By Gum, Where Did That Come From?

In answer to a question from our chair, Les Pearson, wanting to know how the gum tree got here and why it dominates this part of the world- Let me take you back to the 19th Century when plant and animal collectors from Europe went all over the world collecting both... read more

A Plant Nerd Answers: Processionary Caterpillar

The caterpillars nest in, on, or at the base of various trees leaving them to bury themselves in the ground and pupate.

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A Plant Nerd Answers: How to ID a Gum Tree

One of the first things we look at when identifying a Eucalypt (or close relative Angophora or Corymbia) is the bark, is it smooth? Rough, Stringy, Hard? Soft?

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