April is Garden Art Month and our tour visits sculptural plants and sculpture inspired by plants. Find out more about plants and sculpture by joining a walk or tour in April.
Tea - Camellia sinensis
This species is probably the most widely grown species of Camellia worldwide and the most economically important. The terminal leaf bud and two or three leaves immediately below are harvested as they emerge in early spring to produce tea. The leaves are processed in different ways to make white, green, oolong and black teas. Tea plants are native to east and south Asia and have been cultivated by the Chinese for over 2000 years. Delicate white creamy flowers are now opening.
Vireyas are a group of tropical montane rainforest Rhododendrons with brightly coloured flowers found throughout Malesia. They mostly grow as epiphytes in trees, or in more open ground in shrubberies. There are over 300 species of Vireyas, but only Rhododendron lochiae with deep red bell-shaped flowers from mountains in far north Queensland is native to Australia. Many other coloured cultivars are now in flower around the Garden.
Sunpatiens - Impatiens hawkeri 'Fire Red'
The genus Impatiens includes over 1000 species from the northern hemisphere and the tropics. Flowers are not only brightly coloured but have a distinctive nectar producing spur at the base of the flower and explosive seed capsules. Sunpatiens is a cultivar bred from the widespread Indonesian and New Guinean species, Impatiens hawkeri, by the Japanese seed company Sakata. It thrives in full sun and is also featured in our Horticultural Trial Garden in the Palace precinct.
Purple Anise - Illicium floridanum
Native to swamps of the southern USA States of Florida and Louisana and the montane forests of northern Mexico, this shrub likes shade and moisture. The unusual dark red flowers give off a fishy smell that attracts small flies who carry out pollination. The crushed leaves give off a pleasant smell similar to anise. Although no part of this plant is edible, it is a close relative of the spice star anise (Illicum verum) from China and Vietnam.
Johnstone River Almond - Elaeocarpus bancroftii
This tree is restricted to north eastern Queensland where it grows in tropical rainforests from Cooktown to Tully. In Autumn, white bell-shaped flowers with fringed petals hang in clusters among the leaves and are followed by blue-green fruit. The fruit contains an edible seed that is encased in a hard outer layer. Seed is eaten by native Giant Whitetailed rats but Southern Cassowaries who swallow the whole fruit are the main seed disperses.
Batsimisaraka - Cycas thouarsii
This cycad from Madagascar and surrounding islands grows in sandy soils in coastal sites up to 200 metres above sea level. While it might resemble a palm, this plant is a member of a more ancient plant lineage, predating flowering plants by 100 million years. It has separate male and female plants with the male pollen cones easy recognisable for their spindle like shape. Once thought to be pollinated by wind it is now known that pollinating insects are attracted to the cones by smell.
Palm (Sculpture) by Bronwyn Oliver
One of two beautiful copper works of art, created by Bronwyn Oliver (1959-2006) for the Garden in
1999. The woven copper work is inspired by the shape of the fronds that emerge from the crown of the Phoenix palm that overhangs the sculpture. On the other side of Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove) is another work by Oliver called Magnolia. When they were created, these were the first sculptures in the Botanic Garden to take plants as their subject. Join a Wednesday Walk in April to find out more about the Garden's sculptures.
Cape Fig, Broom Cluster Fig -Ficus sur
A large fig tree from tropical and subtropical Africa that grows on riverbanks and riverine forests. The fruits are borne on large clusters mostly low down on the trunk and even appear on the roots at ground level. They turn soft and pinkish when ripe. This is an important tree to the local Indigenous people for food, traditional medicine, as well as for its wood and bark that is used
for making rope. The fruit also attracts many fruit-eating birds and flying foxes that help to spread the seeds.
Why not join a Guided Walk of the Garden with one of our knowledgeable Volunteer Guides, daily at 10:30 am. Find out more here.