Flowers, fruit, cones and even tiny spores feature on the plants you will discover on this month's walk. Find out more about our plants by joining a guided walk or tour in May.
Sandpaper Fig - Ficus coronata
Australia has over 40 native species of Fig that include vines, epiphytes, and woody trees. The Sandpaper Fig, so called for the rough texture of the leaves, grows along riverbanks and in gullies close to the coast, from central Queensland to northern Victoria. It bears its flowers and fruit on the trunk and woody stems which is known as ‘cauliflory’. Pollination occurs by a symbiotic relationship with a fig wasp that lays its eggs inside the fig flowers. The ripe purple fruits are edible after removing the furry skin.
Camellia sasanqua varieties
Popular for its winter flowering, Camellia sasanqua is one of the most popular ornamental camellias. Originating in China and Japan, cultivars began appearing in Japan in the early 17th century with the first record of Camellia sasanqua varieties made by Ihei Ito (1695-1733). It was not until the 18th century that Camellias were introduced in Europe. Despite their success as ornamental plants, one third of all Camellia species are threatened with extinction in the wild.
Staghorn Fern - Platycerium superbum
The Staghorn Fern is found in rainforests of north east NSW and Queensland, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia and New Guinea where it grows on trees and sometimes on rocks. The key to its success is the non-fertile nest frond that is designed to collect falling leaves and detritus but also acts to attach the fern to the host tree, much like a protective wrapping. Ferns reproduce sexually from brown dust-like spores and the fertile frond that is hanging below the nest frond is now covered in masses of spores.
Maidenhair Tree - Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba, sometimes referred to as a ‘living fossil’, is the only surviving member of an ancient
order (Ginkgoales) of seed bearing plants around 270 million years old. Individual trees are either female or male and we have both types in our garden. The distinctive fan shaped bilobed leaves turn a buttery yellow colour in Autumn. This is a tree prized for its resilience, spectacular autumn colour and edible seeds produced in summer.
Golden Penda - Xanthostemon chrysanthus
Endemic to coastal rainforest from Townsville to Cape York in north Queensland, Golden Penda is famous for its ‘fluffy golden flowers’. The shape and colour is due to the flower's prominent stamens, a characteristic of the gum tree family (Myrtaceae) to which they belong. Growing to 10-12 metres in cultivation, Golden Penda is one of forty seven species within the genus Xanthostemon whose name is from the classical Greek words, ‘Xantho’ - yellow and ‘stemon’ - stamen.
Monkey Plant - Ruellia makoyana
This sprawling plant from Brazil is perfect for bordering a semi-shaded path. It has decorative foliage with a distinctive lime green mid-rib throughout the year but in autumn the plant glows, covered in bright pink flowers. Acanthaceae, the family it belongs to, is featured in this part of the Garden where you will discover more easy to grow tropical shrubs with striking flowers and floral bracts. Many like the Monkey Plant are sold at our Growing Friends Nursery nearby, open 11am - 2pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 2pm Saturday.
Silk Floss Tree - Ceiba speciosa
Paths strewn with large pink flowers announce the flowering of one of the most spectacular trees in our garden. The Silk Floss tree produces flowers on the ends of branches, allowing them to be easily spotted by flying pollinators looking for nectar. To fully appreciate these majestic tall trees you need to walk down the path and view the trees from a distance to best appreciate the large canopy covered in pink.
Lush Araucaria - Araucaria luxurians
A southern hemisphere conifer, this is one of thirteen species of Araucaria endemic to New Caledonia. It occurs in small populations on the main Island Grande Terre. It might look similar to the Norfolk Island pine in growth habit but has a lusher foliage. It has a very restricted distribution in a few rocky areas near the sea and some inland rocky ravines. Male and female cones are produced on the same tree, but at present only male cones can be seen at the end of the branches.
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.