Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blue Quandong, continued

This Blue Quandong is approximately forty years old. It lives in Heritage Park, Mullumbimby. This tree is beginning to resemble the iconic buttressed rainforest tree of lowland and riverine forests.

The buttressed roots help it not to sink into the sometimes soggy ground and to keep its vast weight vertical to elevate its canopy of leaves to where they can access enough sunlight to make their food.

Buttress roots of Blue Quandong Tree
The buttress root system (also called plank roots) supports a veritable garden of plants, animals and fungi.

Microporus xanthopus fungi of several different ages on Blue
Quandong branches.
These tropical fungi are known to grow mainly on Blue Quandong tree litter where they help to break the woody remains into nutrients that may be used by other organisms. The brown ringed, rimmed with a faint white is the freshest, youngest of the quartet, a baby from December 2014. The almost white one at the top of the pic is probably from Autumn 2014.

Birds Nest Fern sheltering behind a root. 
Ferns of several different species, mosses of many species, lichens, fungi and hundreds of insects all live on the surface of the roots and in the hollows formed between the roots, consuming, composting and culturing in-blown forest litter, falling leaves and branches.

Blue Quandong seeds in the mossy fold of a root.

If these Blue Quandong seeds look familiar, it is because their sculptural beauty is much appreciated by natural jewellery artists. I often see 'our' Blue Quandong seeds in necklaces from places not graced by the tree itself.