Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Celastrus australis - Staff Climber (aka Staff Vine).

Celastrus australis - Staff Climber (aka Staff Vine).

This is an extremely common climber in the local rain forests. Currently it is very noticeable, because it is fruiting heavily, with orange berries visible in the tops of trees which themselves do not produce orange berries.

It grows right to the top of host trees, and then tries to catch hold of any neighbouring plants. If there is nothing higher, the stems bend over and keep going horizontally, till they find something else to climb on. I saw one recently which presented a solid wall of dense vegetation, approximately 20 metres wide, and more than 20 metres high - reaching to the top of the local Blackwood Wattles and Sassafras trees.

Fruit of Celastrus australis

Large numbers of fruit of Celastrus australis

Mature leaves of Celastrus australis

Lenticels are noticeble on the stems Celastrus australis
"One of the small, corky pores or narrow lines
on the surface of the stems
of woody plants that
allow the interchange of gases
between the interior tissue and the surrounding air."
In other words, these are "breathing holes" for the plant.

Juvenile stem and leaves of Celastrus australis
Once the capsule is opened
it clearly showing it is "three valved".
The seeds have a bright orange "aril"which is a
"membranous appendage, sometimes partially or wholly
covering the surface of the seed"
If one peers closely
one can make out patches of orange seeds
(just below the power lines).
These are Celastrus seeds.
Forgive the poor quality, please, but the distance
is more than 150 metres away.
The three lines are power lines passing between
my house and the trees.

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