Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Robertson has a new species of Passionfruit

There is a rare native Passionfruit flowering in Robertson (Passiflora herbertiana) . This young plant has been growing for 2 years, but has only just flowered. And now its identity can be confirmed.

Close-up of flower of P. herbertiana.
As far as I know this is the first record of it growing in Robertson.

This plant's normal habitat is coastal, ranging from Queensland, south to Narooma. So it is an odd occurence for
it to turn up in the cool climate environment of Robertson.As a native species, it is to be hoped that it manages to establish itself in Robertson.

Plant of P. herbertiana growing on a Blackwood Wattle (Acacia melanoxylon) in Robertson.

There are some reports of another native species in the local area, a red flowered species, which would probably be P. cinnabarina. I have not yet seen that species. Neither of these plants is common in Robertson, and they deserve to be respected, and conserved.

feral Banana Passionfruit (P. mollisima) (click here for an image) is making a mess of the wet rainforest patches at the top end of Jamberoo Mountain Road, and on parts of Vandenbergh Road. The large pink pendant flowers are clearly visible at this season. Even I would have to admit that they are beautiful flowers, However, these plants threaten native trees by smothering them. They out-compete the trees for light, by swamping the leaves of the trees. Ultimately, they also make trees susceptible to wind damage, as the trees are carrying too much "sail", in the form of the large leaves of the Passionfruit, so in a "big blow", the trees have more wind catching material than they are designed to carry. Snap!

A weed is a weed, even with beautiful flowers - especially if it is 20 metres high.

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