Sunday, 11 May 2008

Tropic Botanicals

Impressions from tropical North Queensland.

A very dramatic sunrise, open grazing country between Townsville and Mackay, Northern Queensland.

Aerial view of far North Cane Country, everywhere sugar cane!

Xanthorrhoea is a genus of flowering plants native to Australia and a member of family Xanthorrhoeaceae. The Xanthorrhoeaceae are monocots, this plant was formerly known as "Blackboy" or Grasstree, growing in the garden of the hotel.

The Cannonball tree; Couroupita guianensis.

Fruits are edible and are occasionally eaten, but the smell of the white flesh discourages most people from trying them. On the other hand, the flowers have a wonderful smell and can be used to scent perfumes and cosmetics. The hard shells of the fruit are sometimes used as containers.
Plant Cultivation
A large tree, up to 50-75ft tall. It will only grow in tropical zones and is very susceptible to frost. Flowers (followed by fruit), grow directly from the trunk. Fruits are soft and very fleshy. Provide lots of water and humidity for optimal growth.Propagation: By seed.
Origin and Distribution
Native to rainforest of the Guiana's in Northeastern South America.

Flowers of the Cannonball tree.

The whole area where this tree stands is perfumed by those gorgeous looking flowers.

Costus is a genus of perennial tropical herbs. They are often characterized (and distinguished from relatives such as Zingiber) by their spiraling stems.

This plant caught my eye but I haven't got a clue what its name is.

More Costus Ginger; this could be a Beehive ginger. I think I will introduce some more into my garden, they are really spectacular plants for semi shade.

Jade Vine; Strongilodom macrobotrya.

The jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys) is a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines. Its flowers are the color of jade, and hang in bunches up to 90 cm long; each clawlike flower is about 7½ cm long. In its native Philippines, the jade vine's flowers are pollinated by bats.
S. macrobotrys is prized in tropical and subtropical gardens for its showy flowers which are a highly unusual blue-green. It is usually grown over a pergola so that the flowers may hang down below where they can be seen easily. In South Africa the jade vine is mainly restricted to the warm humid strip of coastal Natal but grows in a few frost-free spots inland.

A peaceful spot to rest.

Tiny Peperomia or perhaps Pileas ( I am not sure) used as groundcovers.

Interesting yellow flowers; could be Costus, Ginger or Heliconia?

Begonia species...(the word species makes it easy identifying!) they look lush and stand out in shadowy spots under trees.

Fantastic borders with colourful leaves, Bromeliads, Ferns and flowering plants.

Pink Torch Ginger; Etlingera elatior.

The torch ginger or wax flower (Etlingera elatior (Jack) R.M. Smith) is believed native to Sulawesi (Celebes) and Jawa, Indonesia (Java). The plant is now grown in many tropical locations both for the extravagant 'flowers' and for food. In Malaysia, it is called kantan. The peduncles (stems) of the inflorescence are chopped and added to laksa pots (various curries or soups made with rice noodles).

The spectacular inflorescence rises from the rhizome to a height of 60 centimeters (24 inches) to more than a meter (40 inches). The individual flowers will appear from between the pinecone-like scales above the waxy bracts. The leaves grow in ranks from separate stalks along the rhizome. The leafy stalks are evergreen and get 4.5 to 6 meters (15 to 20 feet) tall. Note that in the photograph, the inflorescence is just starting to expand and the leaves are dried having been subjected to cold temperatures and winds.
Torch ginger has had numerous generic designations through the years: Alpinia, Phaeomoria, Nicolaia, and Elettaria. The taxonomy was tangled and confusing. And it was believed the genus contained only a handful of species.
In the 1980s, Rosemary Margaret Smith of the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh tackled the gingers and determined this plant belonged to Etlingera, a genus first described in 1792 by Paul Dietrich Giseke. Since then, Axel Dalberg Poulsen of the National Herbarium of the Netherlands has dedicated his studies to these glorious plants. He has discovered there are at least 70 species, many not yet described, spread from India to the Pacific Islands.
Dr. Poulsen has a page of photographs of some of the beautiful Etlingera species he has been studying. To view his page, click on the link:


Barbara said...

Sooo viele wunderbare Bilder, angefangen beim spektakulären Sonnenuntergang bis zu den interessanten Blattstrukturen und -farben. Die Pflanze Jade Vine erinnert mich an die Philippinen. Damals interessierte ich mich noch nicht so für die Botanik und glaubte es wäre eine Wisteria, die einen Sitzplatz überdeckte ;-) !! Man lernt nie aus!
Hoffe, du hattest schöne Pfingsten und Muttertag (oder wird der nicht in Australien gefeiert?).
Liebe Grüsse, Barbara

Titania said...

Liebe Barbara,thanks for your message. Yes, you are right, man lernt nie aus, es geht mir auch so! Mothersday is celebrated here. Actually I forgot it until my daughter Lilli and Bill turned up for cafe and cake and brought me a yellow Poinsettia. I have red ones which are now starting to show their "true colours"! I hope you had a nice "Pfingsten" which I think is more celebrated in Switzerland. I am sure you had a nice Mothersday with your family. Enjoy a new week and Gruessli. Trudi

Marie said...

Beautiful photos! All of them!

I love the flowers, they are very different from those in my garden. I just published a new post with flowers.

Have a nice week :)

Katarina i Kullavik said...

I really enjoyed reading your post and seeing all those gorgeous, exotic plants. Most of them I've never heard of - and they are so beautiful! I especially liked the flowers of the Cannonball tree, the Jade Vine and the Pink Torch Ginger. Fabulous! /Katarina

Anonymous said...

I'm am enjoying your garden-blog.
Lovely photos!

I'll be back to read more.

~ Becky

Anonymous said...

Barbara - thanks for the visit and nice comments. The flora in your latest post is amazing. The closest I have been to such beautiful plants is in Hawaii. Doesn't even compare. Best

plantgirl said...

Lovely pictures makes me want to go there

Titania said...

Thank you my dear gardening friends for your interest in my garden blog and for your nice comments. I appreciate it very much.

Anonymous said...

None of this will grow here! BLAH! So I love these pictures. The Ginger is gorgeous! looking forward to more pictures!
Have a blessed day Trudi!

Titania said...

Maggie, thank you for your message, and I wish you the same.

Laura said...

Wow the flowers of the cannon ball tree are amazing! I love the flowers and foliage of your region. So bright and bold! Thanks for visiting my blog! I have nejoyed peeking through yours :)

Marie said...

Thank you for your comment on my sky watch post!

I live in Norway, not Denmark :)

as-nunes said...

Hi Titania
Wonderfull plants and flowers. I also like very much trees and flowers.
Good luck, may be we can change some informations.

HappyMouffetard said...

It's wonderful to see such beautiful plants growing outside - in England, they are exotic house plants! A very interesting blog. Thank you for the quote you left on my blog - I'd not read that before, so beautiful and so true,


Kerri said...

Are these amazing flowers all in the hotel gardens?
The Cannonball flower is spectacular. I'd love to smell it.
The Jade vine is most unusual too, and one I've never seen before. What a wonderful color it is.
Thanks for sharing these lovely tropicals with us Trudi.
I hope you had a wonderful holiday in Cairns.