poisonshroom

Western QLD plants

12 posts in this topic

Hey all - I'll be heading west for a week over easter for a uni field trip. The focus of the trip is to study the waddi tree (Acacia peuce), which is a threatened species only known in 3 locations Australia wide. We will be in the Boulia region (~900km West of Townsville) for about 4 days not including travel time.

What Im interested in though is if there are any species I should look out for? I know Duboisia hopwoodii may grow in the area, but other than that I dont know a whole lot about our native arid zone species. Im interested in not only ethno's but pretty much anything.

Whenever I go on a field trip or just a trip to somewhere I havnt been (or havnt been to recently) I like to have a mental target list for species I should seek out. In cairns it was tabernaemontana, native psychotria, and a few others, and I managed to find all of them as well as some others I didnt expect (I also found most of them here in townsville after i came back, which was good because most of the seeds I collected failed to germinate).

I'll probably put some pictures up when I get back if I happen to find anything interesting. As a side note, Iv seen a picture of a leaf from A. peuce that went under the microscope, and there are noticeable crystals of some kind in the cells - I wonder what they could be? So far they havnt been analysed as far as I know, but whatever it is there appears to be plenty of it

Thanks

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Native nicotiana perhaps? Eryth spp natives also but legality is unclear :/

I hope you bring some peuce seeds back for the community to help cultivate if it's endangered! (through proper channels of course :) )

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Was hoping a few seeds might accidentally fall into my pocket while Im checking them out (if they are fruiting at that time of year - Iv found reports of 2 different flowering seasons, so id say time of the year isnt as important as other factors like rain). They look really cool and I think they are the tallest acacia (maybe only in Aus). Nicotiana is a good one to look for, as well as isotoma. Not sure about the erythroxylum, but I did find some E. elliptica at undara (west of cairns), which was a fairly desolate place but probably isnt as dry is boulia

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Failing that you could look for seedlings, although that's less kosher unless they're dense... Whatever, you know where I live, I'll just see what pops up in my back yard eh? ;)

Did you or anyone you know manage to get elliptica prop material? Or is the whole genus a pain to vegetatively propagate?

How tall is the tallest acacia??? Shit... I'm down to grow this baby.

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Cant harvest seedlings - id say that wont go down too well lol. As far as I know most erythroxylum are difficult to propagate from cuttings, but then again... But there werent any fruit when I was there (middle of winter - last rainfall about 6 months prior) and I didnt even think to collect a specimen for my assignment (which would have been an awesome inclusion) let alone propagation material. It wouldnt have survived anyway - I didnt have anything to put it in until I got back here a few days later.

A. peuce can grow to around 18m - its also unusually long-lived for an acacia, some sources cite up to 500years but research from the lecturers who run the subject estimate the life span at closer to 200-300 years

Edit: maybe its not the tallest (not sure where I got that from actually) =] probably the tallest thing in the middle of the simpson desert though

Edited by poisonshroom

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How long to "maturity"?

Hopefully if any eryth spp are going to fruit it will be in the next month or two though!

Take sphagnum and baggies ;) I have room for an 18m tree :)

Oh and holy shit 40m is one hell of a tree....!

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Oh and I can't stress the importance of collecting regional varieties of nic and dub since they're both known to be so highly variable species.

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Not sure about age to maturity - given their long life span probably at least 5-10 years. I think most trees out there are either old or seedlings (due to changes in fire regimes etc, which is kind of the focus of the subject), its hard to say though without ever seeing them in person. Hopefully Ill come back full of info like i did after the last field based subject I did. I think I will bring something to collect living specimens (not of the acacias, but other things I find around the place).

We are only going to one area (boulia), and stopping overnight in winton - not sure how much exploration time we will have there though. I do have pituri seeds from the mulligan river area though, so maybe if I can find some where Im going it'll be useful for comparison. Im not entirely convinced the alkaloid content of pituri is location based. I think it might have more to do with preparation

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Well if you can collect samples I can have them gc/ms'ed :)

I don't think location is the key either, but it's more than just prep. They had their secret sacred tree specimens for a reason...

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Nearly at the end of my trip, and not all that much to show for it apart from even more questions about A. peuce, and more info on the species than i could post here lol some seeds will be making it home, and apparently do well in cultivation. I did find some caparis mitchelii and spinosa - took some cuttings of the spinosa and a portulaca with nice big leaves.

D. Hopwoodii and all other solanaceae for that matter remain elusive :( theres still hope yet - we dont leave boulia until tomorrow afternoon, but we have been so busy the entire time. I think i have around 50 pages of notes and observations about A. peuce.

More when i get back

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Seeds needs to have the whitish interior just exposed by nailfile/sandpaper on a small area of the edge of the seed. They then germinate very quickly. Like plenty of water at this stage. Grow VERY slowly after initial start; 20cm in the first few months. FROST kills them when young. You then have to mimic natural conditions; poor, very well drained soil and VERY INFREQUENT rain. I have failed at both these points..

Would l;ove some more seed to try again.

BillAus Canberra

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