Dimorphanthera alpina

Scientific name: Dimorphanthera alpina J.J. Smith var. alpina

Author: Johannes Jacobus Smith (1867-1947)

Common name: None recorded

Family: Ericaceae

 

Dimorphanthera alpina   

Location

An expedition to the mossy Nothofagus dominated mist forest at 3000 metres altitude on Mount Lianamanda in Papua New Guinea might not be what you planned. But, under the Visitor Centre viewing deck, sprays of shell-pink flowers from this plant explorer’s paradise await your admiration.

About 67 species belong to the tropical-Pacific genus Dimorphanthera within the Vaccinieae or blueberry tribe of the plant family Ericaceae. Inferior ovaries are a feature of this group. Many are native to New Guinea and some are epiphytic, or thought to be so. High humidity and moist, free-draining soil favour growth of these species and the reward is generous flowering on branches up to 7 metres long that extend into high light areas attracting honeyeaters as pollinators.

Collected in 1985 and planted in 1991, Dimorphanthera receives minimal, low-volume spray and neighbouring plants have formed a half-metre high dense canopy over its root zone trapping the humidity. The deck above affords some frost shelter and the northerly aspect offers abundant light. These conditions seem to have convinced this beautiful plant to call Mount Tomah ‘home’.