Flora

Plant of the Month – Grains

Sigh, I was wr….. Not exactly right…. You know how you’ve been telling people stuff for almost 30 years and no one’s ever corrected you and finally you get around to trying it and…… Grains have been quite a common food item across many cultures, high in carbohydrates... read more

News from Dungog Common Landcare

Dungog Common Landcarers were able to capture a very rare sight while out on the common this month- not only the Cynanchum elegans (White-flowered Wax Plant-  Endangered under the EPBC Act) in flower, but wait…. also the caterpillar of the moth that lays her eggs on... read more

Plant of the Month: Lotions and Potions!

I generally keep away from the medicinal uses of native plants as there’s a lot of cultural significance and sometimes ceremony attached to the use and preparation of them, but there are a few I refer to as “first aid plants” which I find are quite useful to have a... 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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Plant of the Month: Arr, me scurvy dogs!

Ok, so it’s a little early for International Talk Like a Pirate Day but one issue for pirates, other seafarers and more than a few landlubbers was the disease of scurvy brought about by lack of Vitamin C in the diet, this was a big issue in the Royal Navy till young Jimmy Cook had lemons, limes and sauerkraut as mandatory dietary items for his underlings as they bobbed about the world’s oceans (“no dessert for you till you’ve sucked on a lemon”). 

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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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Growing Together: A Flourishing Month for Landcare Plant Distribution!

In the heart of Muswellbrook, our Landcare nursery has been buzzing with activity this month as we proudly distributed a whopping 1150 plants to eager Landcarers. The green thumb community is thriving, and the total number of tubestock plants shared among Landcarers... read more

Plant of the Month: Looking for some hot stuff…

If you’re a late Boomer or early Gen Xer you’ve probably now got this earworm going (Millenials and Gen Y or Z should watch as well to see what cool music really is), this month we’re looking at some native herbs and spices (some of which have been used in our current... read more

The Marvels of Australian Mistletoe: Busting Common Myths

Australian mistletoe plays a crucial role in supporting biodiversity, punching above its weight in ecological significance

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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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Donkey Orchids at Greta Central Park

HRLN held its first working bee with volunteers at Greta Central Park this month. Greta Central; during the session, we discovered a beautiful patch of donkey orchids, Diuris punctata.  

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Plant of the Month: Ouch, Spiky!

One of my favourite groups of plants are the Epacrids (recently lumped in with the Ericaceae), small shrubby plants with small spiky leaves, parallel venation and tubular flowers with five petals, these can be roughly divided into dry fruit and fleshy fruit with the fleshy fruited ones usually being pretty tasty.

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Plant of the Month: In the Grip of the Grape

You may not know it but Australia has quite a few native members of the grape family (Vitaceae). We’re all familiar with Vitis vinifera (and other table and wine grapes) but less well known is that Australia is home to around 30 members of the Vitaceae family, occurring in all mainland states except South Australia (though I think they make up for it with production of Vitis vinifera).

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Plant of the Month: Fruits of the Forest

Another vegetation type which is high in numbers of edible plants are the rainforests, we’ve previously talked about the Magenta Lily Pilly (Szyzigium paniculatum) and Sandpaper Fig (Ficus coronata) Plum Pine, (Podocarpus elatus) (Gurra-warra – Kattang) Also... read more

Plant of the Month: Vegetable Chicken

Where there’s water there’s food, this also applies with salt water, saltmarshes generally having a few edible species either in them or nearby, generally growing in salt water are the halophytes, these plants suck up salt water and retain the salt in their leaves.... read more

Plant of the Month: “You can eat it, but it tastes like…”

Following on from our recent Bush Foods day at Blandford I’m taking a break from trying to identify Eucalypts and looking at some of our local bushfoods. Within the Hunter there would be well over 200* species of native plant which are or have been recorded as edible,... read more

Plant of the Month: Lomandra longifolia

Member of Wollombi Landcare, Andrea Lang has written a short and entertaining article about how to gather and grow this creek-side helper, so please enjoy the article and get your Lomandra on! Lomandra is the backbone of many a revegetation project because of its... read more

The Woodland Plant Helping Regent Honeyeaters from then Brink of Extinction

With less than 300 birds left in the wild, the Regent Honeyeater is a bird in dire need of help. These stunning birds will travel vast distances in search of food sources that provide high yields of nectar. Spotted Gum, Broad-leaved Ironbark, and Swamp Mahogany are... read more

Plant of the Month: Who’s a Sap?

The next group of Eucalypt like trees we’re looking at are the bloodwoods. The bloodwoods derive their common name from the large amount of sap they produce, previously listed in the Eucalyptus they were split off into the Corymbia genus in the 1990’s. Apart from the... read more

Plant of the Month: She’ll be Apples!

Within the Eucalypts and close relatives the common names of many of the groups do make a bit of sense, Ironbarks, Stringybarks, Boxes are all named for their bark, the Bloodwoods are so named for the large amount of sap they produce but what about these things called... read more

Winner of Australia’s Favourite Tree Announced

Take me to the river… “The contest is over, the dust has settled and one magnificent tree stands above the rest.  It twists and turns as it gathers water from deep underground, reaches for the sky and sends generous branches in improbable directions.  For... read more

Plant of the Month – Mallees

Plant of the Month: “I don’t mind at all if you call me a Mallee Boy.” The famous song by John Williamson refers to the Mallee Region of Western Victoria an area famous for it’s stunted multi-stemmed Eucalypts known as Mallees. The Mallee growth form is a fairly... read more

Plant of the Month: Brigalow

A dandy old horsernan is Brigalow Mick-Which his name, sir, is Michael O’Dowd -Whatever he’s riding, when timber is thick,He is always in front of the crowd.BRIGALOW MICK by Harry (“Breaker”) Morant Images from: plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au Aside... read more

Plant of the Month: The Tale of White Beard

Common in heathlands and sandstone areas the Bearded Heaths (Leucopogon spp) look fairly unremarkable till coming into flower and fruit. The Bearded Heath gets it’s botanical Genus Leucopogon from the  Greek “Leuco-” meaning white and “pogon” meaning beard, for once... read more

What’s the difference between native, indigenous and endemic plants? And why is it important?

These terms confuse a lot of people, so let’s just take a minute to clear things up. ‘Native’ is a general term for plants that occur naturally in a country but not necessarily across the whole of that country.  ‘Indigenous’  – Indigenous species are categorised as a... read more

Plant of the Month: Big Bad Banksia Men

Big Bad Banksia Men Australian author May Gibbs cast the “Big Bad Banksia Men” as the villains of many of her stories, looking at the cones of the Old Man Banksia (Banksia serrata) it is quite easy to imagine them as heads of some creature (though I think casting them... read more

Plant of the Month: The Call of the Lotus

Odysseus removing his men from the company of the lotus-eaters (source: Wikipedia) They started at once, and went about among the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring... 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

Plant of the Month: Eucalyptus nortonii

Life would be so much easier….. Y’know, life would be so much easier if plants could read books, they’d know important things like where they should grow, when they should flower and what they should look like. It would save me a lot of confusion. I’ll often find... read more

Plant of the Month: Learning new ‘trix

Here’s an interesting one for you (well, they’re all interesting to me at least), I was out in the field a few weeks back doing a follow up on the Fairy Bells work I’ve been doing the past couple of years (see: insert link). One of our monitoring sites is in the... read more

Plant of the Month: Staying Muddy

Last month we were in the mud looking at mangroves, this month we’ll go slightly closer shoreward and take a look at what grows in the hypersaline environment of the Salt Marshes. Salt Marshes occur around the high tide zone, often in shallow depressions which fill on... read more

Cactus Causing Prickly Problem

Loading... Taking too long? Reload document | Open in new tab View, Print and Download [659.68 KB] A new state-wide campaign is urging residents to be on the lookout for the prohibited sale or trade of prickly pear cacti. Image of Blind cactus,  courtesy of Queensland... read more

Helping Scientists Control Lantana – Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain

Do you have Lantana camara in your backyard or on your property? Our scientists are documenting patterns in Lantana’s genetic diversity across Australia and need your help. “Lantana camara is a widespread shrub with colourful flowers. It’s poisonous to people... read more

Plant of the Month: Mangroves – Getting Muddy

There’s a concept in evolutionary biology called convergent evolution, it’s where distantly related organisms evolve the same or similar strategies for dealing with the environment in which they find themselves. One example many will be aware of are the Thylacines... read more

Plant of the Month: Please don’t pull this one out

Another couple of plants which commonly get mistaken for weeds (and pulled out) is  Flannel Leaf (Astrotricha floccosa). With a home range between Newcastle and Sydney it’s found in Dry Sclerophyll Forest on sandstone, unfortunately the leaves can have a strong... 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 – Of Serpents and Spinifex

Botanically the Hunter Region compares well with other regions of the world for diversity. Given our geographic location with the New England Fold Belt to the North and East and the largely sedimentary Sydney Basin to the South and West (with the Hunter-Mooki Thrust... read more

Watch Your Step

When most people think of rare plants they think of large and exotic and hidden in the middle of nowhere. Oftentimes the rare ones can be found right under our feet, or in this case from London, just over our heads. “A rare species of orchid believed to have... read more

Plants of the Month: That’s gotta be a weed?

Plant(s) of the Month: That’s gotta be a weed, doesn’t it? Well….. You know how it goes, you go wandering through the bush and see a plant which just doesn’t fit in, which just by the general look of it you just know it’s gotta be a weed. So you reach down and…. NO!... 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

Plant of the Month: Ribbon Gum

Twenty third of March is National Eucalypt Day so with that in mind it’s time for another gum PotM. This month’s PotM is the Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), there’s a couple of them growing near the bridge at Bunnan on the Scone-Merriwa Road, I’ve looked at these... read more

Weed of the Month: Khaki Weed (Alternanthera pungens)

I hate Khaki Weed, I really do, so much so that at one stage I had it almost eliminated from the footpaths of the small village I live in and despite my slackness over the past couple of years numbers are still low and just the other week had to spray the footpath... read more

Plant of the Month: What’s in a name? Hard Quandong

(Elaeocarpus obovatus) Also known as Blueberry Ash, Whitewood, Grey Carabeen, Freckled Oliveberry and Grey Carrobeen, despite the plethora of names it is not related to the other Quandongs (Santalum spp.), Ashes (Mountain Ash, Red Ash, Claret Ash, Himalayan Ash) or... read more

Weed of the Month: Coolatai grass Hyparrhenia hirta

Regional Priority Weed Objective – ASSET PROTECTION An invasive drought, fire and herbicide tolerant tussock forming perennial grass.   It is found in all Australian states and territories. The main infestations on the East coast were south-eastern Queensland,... read more

Plant of the Month: Choccie Lily

Mmmm Chocolate (Lilies!) One of the most anticipated Spring arrivals in woodland and forest areas in this area is the blooming of the Chocolate Lilies (Dichopogon fimbriatus) not only for the attractive purple flowers but also for the chocolate scent they have. While... read more

PlantNET Search – Find your local plants

I’m giving away trade secrets here but apart from identifying plants one of our common requests is for species lists of what grows in an area, or what is suitable to plant in an area. Some areas we know quite well and will be able to give a reasonable list just off... read more

Plant of the month: Antarctic Beech, Nothofagus moorei

Every now and then I get the opportunity to wander through the cool, dark, damp Antarctic Beech forests of the high country up in the Barrington Tops. The Antarctic Beech rainforests are a Gondawanan relic showing little similarity to the surrounding Snow Gum and... read more

Grasses quiz

Can you identify these common weedy grasses that were presented at Tilligerry Landcare workshop recently? Once you’ve had your guess, scroll down for the answers! v v v v v v v v v v v Answers:  Red Natal from Africa Whiskey Grass from the USA Erharta from... read more

Plant of the Month: Johnson’s Grevillea (Grevillea johnsonii).

Apart from my Landcare work I get a few other projects in from time to time, at the end of last week I was out in the Goulburn River National Park trying to track down a lost population of Fairy Bells (Homoranthus darwinioides)*, we didn’t manage to find that... read more

Tools, Tricks and Tips: Nursery Cheats

Ok, I have a confession, despite enjoying working in nurseries I really hate pricking out and potting up seedlings. Yeah, I know, it is the main point of working in a nursery, but it is just so tedious and time consuming so if I can find any way of doing it quicker I... read more

Plant of the Month: Magenta Lilly Pilly

(Syzygium paniculatum). Katuba (Kattang), Daguba (Cadigal). March is a great time for fans of bushfood, Kurrajongs, Sandpaper Fig and the Magenta Lilly Pilly all ripening. This year was a good season for the Lilly Pilly here in the Upper Hunter and while I didn’t get... read more

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

Plant of the Month: Greenhood Orchid (Pterostylis nutans)

During winter and spring, these low green orchids, endemic to Eastern Australia, emerge from the ground in great numbers in moist, protected forest environments. The flowers “nod” or lean forwards strongly and occur singly on a stem arising from a rosette... read more

Tubestock Planting Demo

In this video, we discuss the tips and tricks for planting tubestock and seeing them survive and... read more

When To Apply Herbicides

Time the application of herbicides to achieve maximum effectiveness. The right time to apply systemic poisons is when water and sugars are being rapidly moved (translocated) around the plant (usually spring and summer). Herbicides are likely to be less effective on... read more

Plant of the Month: Forest Red Gum

Plant of the Month: Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) Munumba (Worimi) Buringoa (D’harawal) A magnificent tall tree to 50 metres, the Forest Red Gum is found along the east coast of Australia from Gippsland in Victoria to Papua New Guinea. In the Hunter... read more