Another Crassula, this one sits right next to Crassula “Gollum” in the garden. Looking at them side by side it’s clear they are very closely related, I can imagine a single mutation caused the leaves of the Jade Plant to curl back upon themselves, and there we have the “gollum”. Evolution in action.
Crassula Gollum is a south African native that is popular nurserys. It is a small shrub growing to only 1m tall with thick spongy branches The leaves are tube shaped succulent terminating with a red tipped suction cup like structure at the tips.
The name “Gollum” is in reference to J.R.R Tolkein’s charcter from the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I’ve also seen them refered to as “Shrek’s ears”, it’s a pretty good description.
They must be pretty hardy, the one in our garden survives well with no watering in a shallow sandy soil bed on top of a sandstone slab. Will regularly gets in behind it and breaks of a branch or two as well.
“A tall shrub usually to 3m, with a stout trunk and papery flaky bark” – NPOS p.55
Jess and I took a trip down the back to inspect the sewer on the weekend, all looking good, there is no smell now. This Tea Tree was growing on the large flat sandstone outcrop near to the Broadleaf Grass tree. With it’s distinctive flowers and scented leaves I’m certain it’s a tea tree but I’m not so sure about the species. My guess is it’s a Paperbark Tea Tree, it’s flowers, leaves and habitat are consistent. The scientific name “trinervium” is in reference to the 3 prominent veins in each leaf, you can see them in the photo. At the time I took the picture I didn’t take note of it’s distinguishing feature though, it’s bark, I’ll have to go back to check it out.
These ants have turned up at a few different places around the garden, the seem to occupy a nest for a few months and then move on. They are semi aggressive and will swarm on you if you stand on their nest or get in their path. They don’t seem to bite though.
The photos are from the 3rd location I’ve seen them, and the first time I’ve seen them swarm in such a dense cluster. There was a lot of movement going on but it seemed ordered, like they were going about a task, some of the ants were carying white sacks around. I dropped a matchstick next to them to give a bit of scale in the photos and all hell broke loose. The ants swarmed so agressively that it made a sound, like a soft crunching. The matchstick was swamped. With all the new movement I got a better look deeper into the mound and could see many more white sacks underneath.
Whatever they were doing they had finished by the next day. The nest is still there and there are still lots of ants around, but nothing like the dense arrangement in the pictures.
I’ve got no idea what was going on, or what type of ants they are. I’ve been browsing CSIRO’s Ants Down Under page to try to identify them but it’s not proving to be an easy task. I don’t know what I’m looking for and the site is so painfully slow it’s not suitable to explore or browse about.
Nothing else to do but keep looking and post an update when I find out what these are.