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.
“[The] Giant Spear Lily is a large, succulent herb which grows as a rosette. It’s hairless leaves are sword–shaped, and up to 3 m long and 20 cm wide” – Atlas of Living Australia
Gymea Lilies are spectacular, especially when they are in flower. The plant is on a colossal scale, sword shaped leaved up to 2m long radiate from a point in the ground. When flowering they grow a thick spear up to 4m long from the center of the leaves with large vivid red flowers perched at the top.
This one had me sratching my head a bit, Gymea lillies are native to the Sydney area and are a common plant in residential gardens. But this individual growing just outside the office has a very different arangement of flowers on the spear from other Gymea Lillies in the area. Instead of one neat cluster at the very top of the spear, the flowers were sprouting form the sides starting about 2/3 of the way up all the way to the top.
After a bit of research it looks like this one is a Doryanthes palmeri, a native of Queensland and far north NSW, not the local variety which is Doryanthes excelsa. I’ll do a follow up post on the local Gymea Lily.
After some more searching I think this is Tobacco Bush. The leaves are narrower than some other photos out there, everything else seems to match though. Julia’s comment I also think this is a Flannel leaf! When searching through Google images I still think tobacco bush (Solanum mauritianum), and the native flannel leaf (Austrotricha floccosa) are remarkably similar looking but the Flannel leafs description of a shrub 2 – 4m tall matches more closely with what I saw.
It was running wild in an area by Middle Harbour River, all the plants looked young and the same height though, as if they’d all sprouted within the last few weeks. It is an introduced species from South America. Flannel leaf is a native species found in sheltered gullies near streams, common on sandstone.
Jess and I went for a walk to the Middle Harbour Creek stepping stone crossing at the intersection of Bungaroo and Govenor Phillip tracks. This plant was sprouting up all over the place by the side of the river.
It doesn’t look like a native but who knows, I’ll update this page when I find out what it is.