Category Archives: Plants

Kangaroo Paw

A very well named plant! Kangaroo paw is actually the common name for a number of different species that are all endemic to south west south Australia. This particular one is Anigozanthos flavidus, commonly known as the tall, yellow, or evergreen, kangaroo paw.

Evergreen Kangaroo Paw. Native to South West Western Australia but widely cultivated in the eastern states. This one was in the neighbors front yard

Uncanny resemblance. This is actually a Swamp Wallaby from the back yard but they sure do look like Kangaroo paws.
A Swamp Wallaby with Joey

Sources and more info

Cycad is at it again

It’s been 5 years since the cycad sprouted new leaves, it’s just done it again! According to this University of Wisconsin page many cycads produce leaves, at most, once a year. Which I take means that it could be several years between growths. Before this year the last few years have been very dry here, I wonder if the cycad has been waiting for more water before sprouting.

A new generation of leaves just starting to emerge from the center of the Cycad
They grow fast, this photo was taken 6 days after the first

This is the first time it sprouted new leaves back in 2012. All 3 times it’s been mid December.

Sources and info

Water Gum

Tristaniopsis laurina

“A small spreading tree usually 4-10m high with handsome foliage and distinctive pale bare sheeny bark” NPOS p. 371

The water gum is a common tree found on the east coat of Australia from the Brisbane River in Queensland through NSW down to Gippsland region of Victoria. It flowers in summer with groups of small yellow flowers with 5 rounded petals.

Flowering Water Gum in the wet. Flowers are said to have a strong smell but my nose couldn’t detect much

The water gum is also a common street plant in Sydney and indeed we have one growing out on our nature strip! I confirmed on old Google street view images that it was there 11 years ago when we moved in. It’s a very slow grower and today it’s not much taller than it was back then. The photos are from one of several in the front yard, I didn’t pay attention when we moved in but I think they’ve been there all along as well. The ones in the garden look like they’re self seeded along with most of our garden plants. The yellow flowers are said to have a strong distinctive smell but when I took a whiff up close there was only the slight hint of a pleasant lemony floral aroma.

A self seeded water gum in our yard. There’s a few of them that are slowly growing bigger
Sources and further reading

Sydney Peppermint Gum Blown Over

Eucalyptus piperita

“A small graceful tree to 15m high, but sometimes much taller” NOPS p.38

During the big storms a few weeks ago I was lying in bed at around 11pm just about to ready to go to sleep when a loud and prolonged cracking sound started coming from just outside the bedroom. I knew right away that the large Sydney Peppermint gum in the back yard was falling over! I jumped up and tried to get to the window but it was pitch dark and storming, I couldn’t a thing. As the cracking continued I was terrified it was going to fall on the house, luckily it went the other way and ended up taking out a sizeable swath of bush and other trees as it came down. Phew!

The Sydney Peppermint gum is  a small to medium tree of up to 15m but can be much taller in the right conditions. It’s trunk is covered by rough grey bark that detaches from the tree and hangs in strips as it reaches higher up revealing smooth white upper branches. The leaves have a strong peppermint smell especially when crushed. The Sydney Peppermint was the first Australian plant to be used medicinally by Europeans. It’s oil was found by a surgeon on the first fleet to be “more efficacious in removing all cholicky  complaints than of the English Peppermint”

As the name suggests Sydney Peppermint gum is found in the Sydney basin, it ranges from the extreme south NSW coast up to the central north coast. Flowering time is early summer.

It was a shame to loose the tree, it was a large feature of the back yard. The pair of kookaburras who used to sit in it came and sat on the toppled tree no doubt wondering what had happened.

Fallen Sydney Peppermint Gum. Sneaker for scale.

It look out a few other sizeable trees as it fell

Resources and references