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4 Apr 2023

Discover flowers and fruit of all shapes and sizes in the autumn Garden

This month's tour demonstrates how flowers and fruit can come in all shapes and sizes.

Japanese Windflower - Eriocapitella x hybrida 

Walk through the Camellia beds and you will see these lovely flowers fluttering in the breeze. The former scientific name Anemone, derives from the Greek "anemos", meaning "winds”. The windflower has been cultivated in China from at least the 17th century and many hybrid forms developed from three species; A. hupehensis, A. vitifolium, and A. tomentosa. Recently the genus has been split and many Anemone species are now part of the far less poetic genus, Eriocapitella. Family: Ranunculaceae

Vireya Rhododendrons 

A group of tropical rainforest Rhododendrons, with brightly coloured flowers, found throughout the Malesian Archipelago. They favour warmer, tropical climates, unlike the more commonly planted Rhododendrons of temperate China and North America. There are over 300 species, and many species are epiphytes, meaning they grow attached to another tree or shrub. Although Australia has only one species, Rhododendron lochiae, from far northern Queensland, Australia is a leader in breeding Vireya hybrids and cultivars. Family: Ericacea

False Kava - Piper latifolium f. latifolium

From the pepper family, this species is one of over 2000 from the Piper genus that includes Piper nigrum, the source of both black and white pepper. These tropical plants grow as vines, herbs or shrubs as understorey in rainforests. This species is native to the Pacific, while culinary pepper originates from Southern India. Note the distinctive heart-shaped leaves, the upright flower spike with many tiny flowers that don’t have petals or sepals, and the red fruit on twisted spikes. Visit our Tropical Garden to see Piper auritum with larger leaves and white flowers. Family: Piperaceae

Red Beech - Dillenia alata

Found in the coastal rainforests of the Northern Territory and Queensland, this small tree grows to 6-10 metres. The genus is named for John James Dillenius, a German botanist who became a botanical professor at Oxford. The prominent feature is the bright papery yellow flowers which usually only last one day. Fruit is green, turning bright red when open. Hidden beneath the foliage is another attractive feature - a beautiful flaking papery trunk, initially pink turning maroon with age (hence the name Red Beech). Family: Dilleniaceae

Golden Penda - Xanthostemon chrysanthus

Endemic to coastal rainforest in North Queensland from Townsville to Cape York, Golden Penda displays spectacular ‘fluffy flowers’ during summer and autumn. This is due to the 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 of Xanthostemon, from the ancient Greek, ‘Xantho’ meaning yellow and ‘stemon’ meaning stamens. Family: Myrtaceae

Kadamba, Leichhardt Tree - Neolamarckia cadamba

Flowers that look like orange balls are currently hanging from this fast-growing tree, that occurs from India, throughout south-east Asia to northern Queensland. Kadamba is a very useful tree. Its timber is used for making boxes and paper, its roots yield a yellow dye and its sweetly fragrant flowers are an ingredient in the Indian perfume, ‘attar’. It is used widely in reafforestation programs due to its rapid growth. Kadamba is also associated with the Hindu deity, Krishna. Family: Rubiaceae

Lavallee's Hawthorn - Crataegus x lavallei

A spontaneous hybrid Hawthorn between Crataegus stipulacea x Crataegus crus-galli discovered around 1870 growing at the Arboretum Segrez near Paris, France. It is a small ‘rounded’ tree with striking white flowers in summer. In April we are seeing the result of successful pollination which has produced hundreds of ripening crimson berries (or ‘Haws’). Hawthorn fruit has been used medicinally for centuries, for heart and blood pressure ailments. Family: Rosaceae

Coolamon, Rose Apple - Syzygium moorei

The Rose Apple is a large subtropical tree and was first collected by Charles Moore (Director of the Gardens from 1848-1896) in the Tweed district of northern NSW. The fruit has a smell of rose petals, hence the common name. The fruit is edible and was used for jam making in the early days of the colony, a tradition that continues to this day. Syzygium moorei is now considered threatened in the wild due to loss of habitat and poor seed distribution. Family: Myrtaceae

Learn more 

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

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