GARDENING: Spot the seeds of these natives on CQ beaches
WITH THE school holidays currently underway, many families will take advantage of our current spring weather by either holidaying or taking day trips to the beach.
So why not create some horticultural interest while walking along the beach, and look through the flotsam along the high tide mark, and try to find seeds of some of the unique plants native to the South Pacific or trees that you can see growing along the edge of many of Central Queensland waterways.
A walk along the Kemp Beach last Sunday revealed an interesting collection seeds:
Calophyllum inophyllum or Beauty Leaf Tree.
These hard, light brown -shelled seeds are about 3 - 4 cm across, quite rounded, and usually with a small beak at the stalk end.
The tree itself is very attractive, with some beautiful specimens on the beach side of the entrance road to Rosslyn Bay.
It often grows to heights of 20m, and has glossy green, almost fig-like foliage.
Cassia fistula or Cascara.
The seed pod of the Cascara is cylindrical, dark-brown in colour and 30-60 cm in length.
The Cascara is a very hardy summer-flowering tree for dry conditions.
The dark green leaves will give even the driest garden a tropical appearance.
It will produce masses of beautiful yellow blossoms that hang like bunches of grapes, then drop to the ground after blossoming to form a golden carpet.
Castanospermum australe or Black Bean.
These are large bean like seeds weighing about 30 grams.
Following flowering in, large cylindrical pods measuring 12-20cm by 4-6 cm are produced. These pods split in two to reveal the seeds.
Castanospermum is a beautiful native shade tree that has been grown in home backyards and public parks for over 100 years.
The tree produces large, orange and red, pea-flower shaped from March to May, flowers in clusters along the trees branches.
Casuarina equisetifolia or Coastal She-oak.
These rounded, spikey cones are about 1.5 cm across, and are one of the most common seeds to drift up along our beaches.
The coastal she-oak is one of the most important plants in this area, as it is one of the first species to colonise sand dunes.
While it disperses its seeds before the cones hit the ground, the cones will float ashore to form part of the mulch to assist new plant colonies.
D elonix regia or Poinciana.
It produces large somewhat flattened brown woody seed pods that reach up to 60cm long and turn almost black once ripe.
Poinciana’s have been grown in Central Queensland for more than 100 years and its beautiful umbrella shape and almost perfect shade cover in summer.
It will grow to in excess of 10m high and almost as wide, though more likely to be smaller in home garden conditions.
The flowers are a bright orange red, and often exhibit yellow spotting on one of the petals.
Eucalyptus ptychocarpa or Swamp Bloodwood.
The seed capsule of the Swamp Bloodwood are large and woody about 4 cm lung and 3 cm wide.
These gum nuts are very popular in dried flower arrangements.
The Swamp Bloodwood is an attractive small tree with fibrous bark and large dark green leaves.
The flowers were the inspiration for May Gibb’s Snugglepot and and Cuddlepie story.
They can range in colour from white to purple, with the most common being pink.
Eucalyptus torelliana or Cadagi.
This was the surprise find of the flotsam I found last weekend.
The gum nuts are unique as they are urn shaped.
The Eucalyptus torelliana is a very fast growing tree with large hairy green leaves and soft red new growth.
Large clusters of white flowers are produced during Spring.
This is one tree I would discourage from planting.
Rhizophora stylosa or Silt Mangrove.
These seeds are best described as curved clubs, ranging in size from 20 cm to 50 cm long and usually only a couple of centimetres in diameter.
At one end, there is a small conical shoot, and the other grades into a small root.
The silt mangrove is quite recognisable by its distinctive prop roots rising from the trunk like huge timber supports.
Millettia pinnata or Pongamia.
The bean shaped seeds somewhat flattened that are 16-26 mm long and 12-20 mm wide and light brown in colour.
Pongamia is a hardy medium sized shade tree with shiny green leaves that makes a useful street tree.
Throughout the year attractive night scented pea-shaped flowers that vary in colour from pink to mauve in colour will appear.
The new growth which appears at the end of flowering is coppery-coloured.
Leaves can be used for stock feed in times of drought.
Terminalia catappa or Indian Almond.
This fruit grows up to 10 cm in length, and is almost almond shaped, with a distinctive marginal flange.
The Indian Almond can be found growing in many parks and gardens along the Central Queensland coast.
It is easily recognised by its horizontal branches that grow in wide-spreading circles, and its large leathery leaves, which turn bright red before they fall.