Red Flowering Gum

red flowering gum flower

Corymbia ficifolia (Syn. Eucalypus ficifolia) Family: Myrtaceae     Origin: South Costal Western Australia There are plenty of trees that are grown for their ornamental value, and there are certainly favorites endemic to specific areas all over the world. The Midwest of the United States seems to be happily populated with flowering crab apples and lilacs. In many areas in … [Read more...]

Poincianas and Caterpillars

horticultural glue caterpillar barrier on a poinciana

Brisbane poincianas have been suffering from a plague of caterpillars. The caterpillars are defoliating the poincianas, descending from trees and infesting local residents properties. The caterpillar plague is a phenomenon that occurs around once every seven years in Brisbane. Unfortunately, past caterpillar events have shown that poincianas badly attacked by the … [Read more...]

Camphor Laurel

camphor laurel in Acacia Ridge, Brisbane

Cinnamomum camphora Family: Lauraceae           Origin: China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam While the camphor laurel is an invasive weed here in Australia, in its native lands of Asia, some larger specimens of this tree are considered monuments and are very much loved by the people who live around them. In Japan, Kamou no Ohkusu is a very large and old (possibly over … [Read more...]

Change Bunnings Weeds for Natives

Callistemon viminalis, a native Australian bottlebrush.

I wrote a letter to Bunnings, asking them to withdraw sales of weed species from their hardware stores. They currently sell Duranta , mock orange and Sanseviera trifasciata, mother-in-law tongue at my local store in Brisbane. Sanseviera trifasciata is listed on the Weeds Australia website (of the federal government's weed advisory service), DAFF, the Queensland government … [Read more...]

Should we go organic?

organic farm

I used to live in West End and was a member of 'Friends of the Earth'. I joined a protest or two against this and that, even. I was very keenly biased towards organic, believing it to be the right thing to do. Then I went to uni where I started studying agriculture. My first assignment in agronomy was to compare a crop with fossil fuel and chemical inputs to one without. I … [Read more...]

Broad-leaved Paperbark

paperbark gum nuts which will open to reveal seeds

Melaleuca quinquenervia Family: Myrtaceae Origin: Australia, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea Broad-leaved paperbark, or niaouli, is a medium-sized, fast-growing tree native to Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and the eastern coast of Australia–from Botany Bay to Queensland and the Northern Territory. Paperbarks have also spread to the Everglades of Florida, where it is … [Read more...]

Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island pine growth form

Araucaria heterophylla Family: Araucariaceae          Origin: Norfolk Island People in climates where this tree can’t be grown outside (most notably in the US) grow what they think are Norfolk Island Pines in pots in their homes. Unfortunately, they’re usually mistaken. What is mostly available as a houseplant is actually the Cook Pine (Araucaria columnaris). But for the … [Read more...]

Canary Island Date Palm

Canary Island date palm crown

Phoenix canariensis Family: Arecaceae          Origin: Canary Islands Technically invasive but somehow is forgiven by many; the Canary Island Date Palm (a close relative of the true Date Palm) is widespread in most tropical and subtropical lands around the world. In some areas, it’s naturalized and stands solitarily, enjoyed in the landscapes and gardens of people around the … [Read more...]

Umbrella Tree

The flower of an Umbrella tree

Schefflera actinophylla Family: Araliaceae          Origin: Australia, New Guinea, and Java. Naturalised in South East Qld and other places. While this is an Australian native, the Umbrella tree or Schefflera actinophylla can end up being a nightmare in cultivation and in some applications. Knowing where to plant this beauty can help you avoid many of the common problems … [Read more...]

Lillypilly

Lillypliiy's attractive, small flowers

Syzyigium australe Family: Myrtaceae Origin: Eastern Australia A very popular and native Australian tree, this wonderful (usually) tree is grown in lots of ways. It has been bred into many cultivars suitable for many uses in the garden. Lillypilly can have a lot of names and has been misnamed many times because of the range of cultivars it comes in. Names like Brush Cherry, … [Read more...]