Late Flowering on the Cableway

Skyrail Nature Diary: December 2011

This year we are experiencing another late flowering episode. It appears we are going to have yet another La Nina episode which will bring plenty of rain however, only time will tell for sure.

At Red Peak mid-station the Bumpy Satinash is flowering. These flowers unusually are borne on the trunk and branches. One reason could be that there are several species involved in pollinating the tree and the trunk allows bigger animals access to the flowers and fruits. It is also possible that the less cluttered spaces between the tree trunks provide “highways” for birds and flying foxes through the rainforest. The flowers most of all resemble old fashioned shaving brushes, followed by white apple shaped fruits. The fruits are edible but incredibly bland and were used by the Djabugandjii people as a digestive aid.

The Flame Tree is flowering sparsely on the cableway. These beautiful trees have greenish trunks with chlorophyll and maple-like leaves. During flowering, the Flame Tree sheds all it’s leaves and is covered in numerous tiny red bell shaped flowers. The fruits are woody boat shaped pods filled with two rows of edible yellow seeds which are covered in a layer of irritant hairs used in years gone by as a kind of itching powder.

Flame Trees were the first Australian tree to be brought into cultivation and is a very popular landscaping tree.