November Flowering and Fruiting

Skyrail Nature Diary: November 2014


This month it’s getting even warmer and more humid. Several of the trees that had just started fruiting in October, should be getting close to ripening. Brown Tulip is currently fruiting in moderate numbers at Skyrail. The fruits are samaras, a round seed attached to a long papery wing. This allows them to float away from the parent tree in a ‘helicopter’ type of style. The flowers are tiny and white and are borne on small panicles - bush like flowering structures on top of the tree. The leaves are trifoliate, three leaflets to a leaf, and are covered in brown hairs on the underside. Before the development of fibreglass and carbon fibre, the timber of this species was sometimes used in the manufacture of fishing rods. Brown Tulip Oak has a useful general purpose timber suitable for house construction in places not exposed to the weather.

Another tree that started fruiting last month is the Yellow Walnut. The fruit is a large green or brown drupe containing a single hard seed with two pointy ends. The fruit flesh is extremely toxic but was eaten by the Djabugandjii people after extensive leaching. The flowers are tiny and brown with six petals. The leaves are droopy with a distinct drip tip. These trees grow up to 30 metres and produce an excellent yellow cabinet timber.

Red Ash flowered in moderate numbers along Skyrail last month. The flowers are tiny with five orange petals. The fruits are small woody capsules that resemble a chalice filled with a ball. The leaves are dark green with white undersides. The crushed leaves occasionally smell weakly of sarsaparilla, but it’s quite indistinct. These trees are pioneers and although they grow up to 30 metres, they do not have much branching. Their crowns are quite flat as well. The seeds of these fast growing trees are very popular and surprisingly, Fig Parrots are among the gourmet diners.

Pink Alder flowered on both sides of Red Peak last month. The flowers are tiny white or pale pink with five tiny triangular petals. The fruits known as samaras, look like small three winged cornflakes pieces and contain one to three seeds which King Parrots feed on. The leaves are trifoliate, each consisting of three serrated, oval shaped leaflets. These easily identified trees grow up to 35 metres but are not popular for their timber as they often have lenses of included bark.

Weeping Brown Pine started coning along the cableway last month with the female cones first up. The female cones are fleshy and contain a single exposed green seed. The flesh is blue-green when unripe and turns dark red when it ripens. Cassowaries seem to be very fond of these fleshy cones. The seed itself is loaded with nerve toxins. The male cones are small yellow catkin like structures which release pollen into the air. Both sexes are represented on the same plant but not at the same time. These beautiful trees grow up to 30 metres and have distinctive crowns. The leaves are long, thin straps which droop noticeably. New growth is yellowish in colour. Weeping Brown Pine makes a fine potted plant for indoors. This species also produce good timber with a variety of uses including boxes, butter churns, office fittings, kitchen fittings and internal house sheeting.