This June we are bringing our popular 'Must See' tour to you! Each plant on the tour is flowering or fruiting in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney this month.
Hong Kong Orchid Tree - Bauhinia x blakeana
The national flower of Hong Kong, this tree has a curious history. It was first discovered in 1880 growing next to a ruined building in Pokfulam, Hong Kong by a catholic missionary. He took a cutting, grew the plant and it found its way to the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Garden.
However, the plant was sterile, producing no viable seed. All plants in cultivation are genetically identical to that first tree because they have all been grown from cuttings, originally distributed by Hong Kong Botanical Garden from 1914.
Davidson’s Plum, Ooray - Davidsonia pruriens
This slender, rainforest tree is endemic to tropical rainforest in far north Queensland. It bears large plum shaped and coloured fruit that hang in clusters directly from the trunk and woody stems. The fruit is bright red on the inside and very sour. It was an important food for Aboriginal Cultural groups and is now used to make jams, sauces and even wine. The species name refers to fine hairs that occur on leaves and the skin of the fruit and may cause irritation.
Velvet Prickly Pear - Opuntia tomentosa
Velvet Prickly Pear, from Mexico is a large shrub with multiple branches comprising rounded succulent cladodes (flattened stem segments) that carry out photosynthesis. Segments are dotted with areoles (small raised structures) filled with fine yellow glochids (barbed bristles).
Bright orange flowers are followed by red fruit also covered in bristles. These easily lodge in the skin or if ingested in the mouth or throat. Pads easily root and grow when they fall and hit the ground and the species is an environmental weed in NSW and Qld.
This species is extinct in the wild but cultivated in gardens in North Vietnam where the plant originates. It is very different to the commonly cultivated garden Camellias. It has magnificent, large glossy green leaves and superb crimson new growth. The base of the leaf wraps around the stem and it is here that the flowers appear as pink ball-shaped buds before opening to display a unique cup-shaped pink flower with bright yellow stamens.
Lipstick Plant - Aeschynanthus parasiticus
This trailing plant with bright orange flowers from the African Violet family, Gesneriaceae is not, as the species name suggest a parasite, but an epiphyte. This is a plant that grows attached to another plant, usually a tree but doesn’t take any water or nutrients from the host plant.
Higher in the canopy it does get access to light and a place to display its flowers to pollinators such as Sunbirds. They occur in the plants habitat, that stretches from tropical India all the way to Vietnam.
Queensland Fan Palm - Licuala ramsayi var.ramsayi
This species comes from far north Queensland where it is found growing along streams and in swamps in rainforests such as the Daintree, close to the coast. These palms reach 10-15 metres in height and often grow in large stands.
Their large round, split leaves filter the light and create a magical and much photographed landscape of sun and shadow. White flowers are followed by orange-red fruit, bearing a single seed.
Aloe ‘Eager Beaver’ pictured - Aloe cultivars
Aloes are succulent plants from Southern Africa, Madagascar, Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula. There are over 500 species, and they hybridise easily. On the Greenway Terrace discover a range of hybrids bred in South Africa for spectacular flowering, drought tolerance and bird attraction.
Enjoy their bright red, orange and yellow tubular flowers on mass. Learn more and explore the diversity of Aloe species growing in our Succulent Garden by taking a virtual Succulent Garden Tour at Virtual Tours.
Tree Daisy - Montanoa grandiflora
Like a common garden daisy on steroids, the tree daisy grows to four metres tall and in early winter is covered in typical fried-egg daisy flowers, white with a yellow centre. It is so floriferous that stems laden with terminal flowers bend towards the ground.
Foliage is attractively bipinnate and the plant responses well to hard pruning after flowering. However, it is worth waiting a few weeks to enjoy the globular and decorative chartreuse coloured seed heads.
Our Must See tours are curated and led by a team of passionate volunteers. Learn more about our diverse volunteer programs here.