The plants of the rainforest in tropical Australia, New Guinea and the surrounding islands...
Aspelnium nidus, 'Bird's Nest Fern'. Grows on trees as an epiphyte, also often found growing on rocks.
Ptychosperma macarthurii, 'Macarthur Palm'. Found in rainforest in pockets of N.T, and New Guinea and south-west Pacific islands.
This group contains a range of ornamental plants, such as the various daffodils, and the ‘crinum lilies’ (the ‘true lilies’ are in a different order). It includes several species that provide vegetables and flavours, such as chives, leek and onion.
Crinum pedunculatum , ‘Crinum Lily’, ‘Mangrove Lily’. Short shrub. Large, long leaves with longitudinal veins. These clasp around a short stalk. Produces a stalk with an umbel of many white, spider-like flowers, giving rise to other common name of ‘spider lily’. Fruits are unusual, almost onion like; green and round, with elongated pipes at end. These split to drop angular semi-circular seeds that are a green- tinged white with an almost styrofoam like surface. They are ocean dispersed, and thus sometimes seen washed up on tropical beaches. Indigenous uses include the crushed up plant used to alleviate box jellyfish stings, and fibrous parts of plant trailed behind moving boat as a lure to catch fish such as mackerel. Usually found only at sea level, and in wet forest, on edge of mangroves, and behind beaches along subtropical and tropical east coast of Australia, across the top to the NT, to New Guinea and other tropical Pacific Islands.
(Rajah Ampat, Indonesia).
Spathoglottis (Rajah Ampat, Indonesia).
(Rajah Ampat, Indonesia).
There are at least 300 species in this family, and they are found throughout the tropics of the world, as well as in many temperate areas.
In Australia, they are sometimes more obvious in subtropical forests, but there are a couple of species that can be found along the wetter tropical coasts. They can grow as vigorous climbers, with the wiry, curling tendrils growing in pairs from the petiole at the base of the leaves. Their leaves are easy to recognize, as they usually have 3 to 5 prominent veins. The fruits grow in umbels They can be annoying plants because the main stems are covered in small prickles. Several smilax vines provide the original Sarsaparilla
Mostly a family of plants found growing in sandy soil heathlands in southern Africa and south-west Australia, but with some interesting species in the rainforest along the east coast of Australia, including some of the dominant canopy trees.
There are four species in this genus, found in rainforest along the east coast of Australia and north into New Guinea.
Alloxylon pinnatum, 'Dorrigo Waratah Tree'. Found in subtropical rainforest in south-east Queensland.
A genus of mostly trees and tall shrubs. Some 10 species are found in the subtropical forests along the east coast of Australia. but more are found and endemic to New Caledonia.
Stenocarpus sinuatus, 'Firewheel Tree' . Popular garden tree. Found in subtropical rainforest from NSW to the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland.
There are some 60 species of Dillenia found in tropical Asia and the Pacific. The large fruited ‘Elephant Apple’ is cultivated in gardens. There is only 1 species native to Australia.
Dillenia alata ‘Red Beech’. Distinctive flaky red bark, large yellow flowers, and red fruits that open up like a flower to reveal the seeds. Common in coastal forest in Queensland and NT, and up into New Guinea, including on forest on sandy soils just behind beaches. Obvious at the Cape Tribulation picnic area.
Dendrocnide moroides, 'Stinging Bush', 'Gympie Gympie'. Small hairs on this plant cause extreme pain.
This family has over 95 genera and over 1350 species. They are found worldwide, but there are many more species in the tropics and subtropics. The flowers are usually small and pale white or green, with 3-5 sepals and petals.
There are over hundreds of species in this genus, mostly in the tropics, with 3 species found in the tropical rainforest of North Queensland. The genus name Salicia, refers to the name of the wife of the ocean god Neptune in Roman mythology, part of the name which in turn came from the word for the latin word for salt.
Salacia chinensis, ‘Lolly Berry’. Grows as a vine. Opposite leaves. Named for the red, round fruits that look like lollies, have sweet, edible flesh, which is also sticky, requiring one to suck on the seed. This vine is often found on the edge of forest and mangroves along waterways and beaches, from tropical North Queensland, through the Pacific islands, across south-east Asia and to India.
Three species; with two in Asian rainforest and one in north-east Australia.
Ryparosa kurrangii, (Daintree, Australia).
Homalanthus populifolius, 'Bleeding Heart'. Tree or tall shrub. Named for the distinctive bright red heart-shaped leaves that are mixed in with the green leaves.
The family Myrtaceae is arguably the most important on the Australian continent, although they are not as obvious in the rainforests as they are in the adjacent woodlands.
The flowers in the Myrtaceae family are usually quite showy, but not in the usual way; instead of colourful petals, there is instead a seemingly unlimited number of stamens, giving the flower the appearance of a brush.
Botanists often divide the family into two different sub-families. One group are the ‘woody-fruited myrtles’. These are dominant in drier parts of our continent, and include the classic Australian genera such as Eucalyptus and Melaleuca. The other group, the ‘soft-fruited myrtles’ are usually associated with wetter environments and found mainly in the tropical rainforests of the Americas, Australia and parts of Asia and the Pacific. It includes such genera as Syzygium, Acmena and Eugenia, and are commonly known as the ‘Apples’, ‘Satin-ashes’ and ‘Lilly-pillies’ and usually produce fleshy, colourful fruits.
Eucalyptus grandis, 'Flooded Gum', 'Rose Gum'. (Atherton Birdwatching Lodge). Usually very tall and straight, with lots of large strips of peeling bark. Found along the east coast of Australia in wetter habitats, including being one of the few 'gum trees' in or on the edge of the rainforest.
Probably Melastoma malabathricum.
Nepenthes misool sp. 'Misool Pitcher Plant' (Misool, Indonesia)