by Paul Alessi
Hyacinth Orchid (Dipodium punctatum)
This orchid is one of the strange things you can find
in Windellama bushland at this time of year. It resembles a
purplish stick of asparagus about 30cm high topped with bunches of spotted pink flowers.
It's mostly found emerging
through thick leaf litter usually beneath a snappy gum
(Eucalyptus mannifera) and at one time was thought to be a parasitic herb living off the roots
of the Eucalypt above it, it's now known to a saprophyte (an organism that gathers it's nutrients from
dead organic matter) and so lives off subterranean fungi which form on buried leaves and other rotting
matter in the leaf litter layer. There are about 20 species of Dipodium in the world and 10 of these
are endemic to Australia.
Green Wattle (Acacia parramattensis)
The only tree wattle that
flowers at this time of year in Windellama is the Parramatta
probably so named because of the area where the first specimen was described.
Flowering starts from about Christmas day and onwards through January so it's easy to
tell this one from the other tree wattles by it's flowering time alone. Parramatta Green Wattle is an excellent
firewood and here at home we use anything over about 50mm in diameter, they root sucker and
also coppice well and so renew themselves giving an endless supply of hot burning wood.
Being an Acacia they are also leguminous and so put nitrogen into the soil.
They can grow to 30cm in diameter and 15 metres high in good soils but are often smaller
and more branched in harsh sites, unlike Black Wattle (Acacia decurrens) Parramatta Green Wattle
is extremely frost hardy.
Copyright Paul Alessi 2007
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