Australian Plants online
Index   Back Issues   ANPSA Home

Plants of the John Oxley Reserve *

Lawrie Smith

A multi-trunked tree, a scrambling vine and a cushion grass are three of many unusual and interesting plants found along the banks of the Pine River that John Oxley would have discovered when he came ashore there in 1823.

  Toechima tenax - fruit
  Toechima tenax; fruit
Photo: Lawrie Smith

Toechima tenax - Brush Teak

Beside the riverside boardwalk is an attractive small multi trunked tree which grows to 15 metres, but 8 metres in cultivation. Generally found in subtropical and dry rainforest from northern New South Wales to Gympie in Queensland, Toechima is an excellent garden tree for coastal gardens.

Foliage is an attractive mid green. Small creamy white flowers held in panicles adorn the canopy in autumn and winter. Fruits are a vivid orange/yellow, pear shaped capsule with glossy black seeds, ripening from late winter to spring.

Flagellaria indica - Supplejack

This scrambling vine with cane-like stems will climb to 10 metres. Flagellaria is widespread found in most coastal rainforests and along stream banks from northern New South Wales through Queensland, Northern Territory to Western Australia and South East Asia. The leaves have an unusual tendril-like spiral tip used in climbing supporting trees. Dense terminal sprays of white flowers from spring to summer, followed by globular white fruits that occur in summer and autumn.

Flagellaria indica - flowers   Flagellaria indica - fruit
Flagellaria indica; flowers (left) and fruit (right)
Photos: Lawrie Smith

Supplejack was a very important plant for the aboriginal people who used the plant in many ways - fibrous stems as rope for tree climbing; thin strips of stem to bind baskets, woven into fish traps, nets and to sew together the hulls of bark canoes; medicinally the astringent leaves were used to heal wounds; the tip sap was applied to sore eyes; and also used as a contraceptive.

  Sporobolus virginicus adjacent to the boardwalk
  Marine couch adjacent to the boardwalk
Photo: Lawrie Smith

Sporobolus virginicus - Marine Couch

The Boardwalk encloses a large field of Marine Couch which looks like a very inviting and soft spongy cushion. This creeping perennial grass grows to 500mm tall forming a dense mass of narrow green, glabrous, leaves less than 1mm wide. Small and insignificant flowers are produced in summer above the tufting leaves. As its name implies, Marine Couch is usually found growing in salt marsh and mud flats around estuaries and is an excellent plant for stabilizing riparian zones adjoining developed areas such as here at Murrumba Downs.

* The John Oxley Reserve is accessed via Ogg Road off Dohles Rocks Road, Murrumba Downs - about 20 kilometres north of Brisbane.

From the newsletter of the Pine Rivers Branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants (Qld), July 2008.

Index   Back Issues   ANPSA Home

Australian Plants online - 2008
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants