Native Mistletoe and Spring-like Autumn

I started this on Tuesday, but got side-tracked. Then m,y jkeyboard decided to chiucjk a hissy fiut again and the jkeys are going rogue. Bare with me…

Remember, click on the image to get a full size view.

Tuesday 19 May 2015: Autumn up here in Tropical North Queensland is stunning. Some might even say Glorious. The days are beautiful, Sun-shiny 27-30C days, while the nights rarely drop below 18C. We do get cold in Winter. Well, cold by our standards. It can get down to 12C, sometimes lower. But I digress. Today is one of those days that you just have to go outside and enjoy. The birds are doing their thing; singing, calling each other, arguing. They create a music all their own. The sky is sometimes overcast, other times a bright Blue. The Sou’ Easterly Trade Winds are blowing now, and will continue through to around September. These winds can blow in around 30 to 40 knots on the coast. Sometimes it will blow 20-30 knots continuously for days. The Kite surfers love this time of year for obvious reasons. Up here in the valley, protected somewhat by a ridge line, we don’t get blown off our seats. However, we do get to see the clouds racing across the sky as if late for an important storm somewhere in the North West. It’s a pretty cool thing to watch.

It rained again last night. Another peculiarity about this area is that around this time of year, you’ll get phases where for a few weeks it rains, but only at night. A light rain that comes intermittently and lasts for sometimes five hours. In the morning the only sign of rain is the wet ground and water dripping from the trees, catching the early sunlight.

So, I woke up early this morning and had a coffee. Then I figured I’d take the photos that I’d thought about taking yesterday. This will be a bit of a Botany lesson. Of the 1400 species of Mistletoe worldwide, Australia has over 90 that are endemic. Mistletoe are partially parasitic. That is, they invade a tree’s branch structure to feed on nutrients and moisture, but create their own Photosynthesis through their leaves. Often you will see that Mistletoe mimics the host plant. Botanists are still working out how and why they do this.

The following pics are of a couple of Mistletoe plants on their host tree.





This one has taken hold on a thin, tall Wattle, weighing the tree down until it has bent horizontal.



Look close and you can see where the dark Brown stem, of the Mistletoe emerges from the tree branch. Mistletoe birds deposit the sticky seed on the branch, where it form, a plantlet that breaks through the bark and creates a graft between itself and the host.


List of Australian Mistletoe.
Gardening Australia – Mistletoe

As I walked around, I tried to figure out how to show how this house sits in its environment. I guess the best way is to show you some of the views from around the place. These are all taken within 30 metres of the house itself. The plants range from open forest things like Grass trees, to large leafed true rainforest plants. We are in the overlap zone between Bloodwood forest and rainforest, which make for a diverse range of plants, birds and animals.

The South cleared patch up the hill behind the house is quite overgrown with ‘Horse’ grass. The Coconut palms are yet to fruit, although they have flowered. I think they have some years to go, being this far in from the coast. Further up the hill is the second house clearing, with views out to the coast.

Looking South, up the hill behind the house

Looking South, up the hill behind the house

Over to the left (East of this view) is the track leading up the hill, and the one that runs across to the other little valley.



There are a lot of Acacias (Wattle) flowering at the moment. This one is just by the house.



This is another view down the windy driveway to the North/North East.


If you look to the West/North West from the house, you can see my vegetable patch. The old log is going to be moved to make a border for a garden near the house.


These photos were taken within 10 metres of each other. A dry country Grass tree right by a patch of vine forest.





We have a White Satin Ash (?) out the side that fruits madly. The birds and bats love it. These are the seedlings that are coming up under the tree. I really should transplant some into pots and put them, somewhere.’




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