Pittosporum bicolor - Banyalla

Rainforest Fruits

While there is not much flowering activity at present at Tarra-Bulga National Park. Plenty of species are laden with fruit which must make it a time of abundance for a range of our bird species. Had a walk around yesterday and found the following fruits on offer.

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Lance, Strap and Ray the Water Ferns

With names like Lance, Strap and Ray this lot of Water-ferns sound like rather a threatening bunch, but in reality they are probably not so tough. All preferring to grow locally in the moist shade found in Cool Temperate Rainforest. All of these species can be found fairly easily in both the Bulga Park and Tarra Valley rainforest walks. Overall seven species of Blechnum grow in Tarra Bulga National Park.

Lance Water-fern (Blechnum chambersiilike all the local water ferns (Blechnum species) apart from one have two distinctly different frond types. The ones that carry the reproductive spores on their undersides have very narrow and droopy pinnae (leaves). The regular fronds are dark green and the leaflets (pinnae) are curved and broad at the base where they are attached to the stem.

Ray Water-fern (Blechnum fluviatile) The regular fronds have small green oblong to oval shaped pinnae (leaflets) with rounded tips. The stems of the fronds (Rachis) are covered in scales as well as small hairs.

Strap Water-fern (Blechnum patersoniiHas regular fronds that are either one long strap or may have a few pairs of divided pinnae which can give them a similar look to Microsorum pustulatum (Kangaroo Fern). The edges of the fronds are usually wavy (undulating). The regular fronds are also broader closer to the tip (and skinnier at the base), they are quite tough and leathery and are a very dark green colour. The spore carrying fertile fronds are much narrower and can also be a single strap or have a few narrow sub-divisions.

Olearias

Tarra Bulga National Park has three different species of Olearia which are members of the daisy family. Two of them can be a little tricky to tell apart, however one is clearly different to the others. From casual observation all of them have similar looking flowers and the best way to tell them apart is by examining the leaves.

Olearia lirata – (Snowy daisy-bush) is a very common species in the park, although it is not usually present in the rainforest gullies; it is a dominant shrub in the wet sclerophyll forest areas (which is the most common vegetation type in the park). It is a small to medium sized shrub and its medium sized leaves are lance shaped and usually green and shiny above and grey and hairy underneath.

Olearia phlogopappa – (Dusty daisy-bush) is less common in the park than Olearia lirata and is  and mostly found in the more disturbed areas; it is also a small to medium sized shrub. It has narrower leaves, that are more greyish and not shiny (hence dusty) with tiny hairs on the underside. The leaves also usually have blunt teeth along their margins.

Olearia argophylla – (Musk daisy-bush)is the third species. It is a large shrub almost to the size of a small tree. Its leaves are much broader and larger than the other two species, they are green on the top and whitish or silvery underneath. It can occur in all forest types within Tarra Bulga, including the rainforest gullies.

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Wild Cherry Track and Macks Creek Warm Temperate Rainforest Walk

The Friends of Tarra Bulga are holding another activity on Saturday November the 17th which is designed to give people the opportunity to explore some of the less visited and remote sections of the Park. People should meet at the Visitors Centre at 9.30 am where a car shuffle will be organised.

Exocarpos cupressiformis - Cherry Ballart
Wild Cherry Track – Tarra Bulga National Park, Showing a patch of the species it was named after: (Exocarpos cupressiformis – Cherry Ballart)

The walk will include the Wild Cherry Track which is named for the native Cherry Ballart trees, (Exocarpos cupressiformis) which occur along one section of it and then leave the park boundary and proceed along a section of the new Grand Strzelecki Walking Track where it follows Macks Creek including Warm Temperate Rainforest that has been the target of restoration activities over the last few year. HVP’s Richard Appleton will be coming along to share his knowledge about this intriguing area.

Although the walk has been designed (with the help of the car shuffle) to be mainly down hill it is very steep in sections and will also be slippery in spots. A bit of rock hopping will also be required to get over Macks Creek so all participants need to be reasonably mobile. You will also need to BYO lunch and drink. Please contact Peter Bryant on 0447474573 to to register for this walk by Thursday 15th of November so we can organise the car pool arrangements.

Myrsine howittiana - Muttonwood
Myrsine howittiana – Muttonwood is one of the canopy species found in the Warm Temperate Rainforest community along Macks Creek.
Dicksonia antarctica Soft tree-fern

Tree Ferns at Tarra Bulga

There are four main species of tree ferns found in Tarra Bulga National Park, (along with many other fern species) The two most common you will see are Cyathea australis (Rough tree-fern) and Dicksonia antarctica (Soft tree-fern). The Soft Tree-fern is more common in the moister areas including the rainforest gullies while the Rough tree-fern is more dominant on the slopes. Once you get you eye in it is fairly simple to tell the difference between these two, the most obvious being by comparing the trunks. The Rough tree-fern has much of its trunk covered by the remains of broken off stems (Stipes) Which are rough to the touch, while the Smooth tree-fern is soft to the touch and is covered by masses of soft hairs which are actually roots.  On this soft trunk other species of plants will often grow including tree and shrub seedlings, epiphytes and other ferns.

Cyathea australis - Rough tree-fern
Cyathea australis – Rough tree-fern, the broken of scaly frond bases (Stipes) on the upper part of the trunk of these ferns are a quick aid to their identification.