Celebrating Queensland day with native plants
DID you realise today is Queensland Day, a day to celebrate all that is quintessentially Queensland?
Like the birth of Qantas 100 years ago, the Royal Flying Doctor Service or that Banjo Patterson’s verse Waltzing Matilda was first sung publicly at the North Gregory Hotel in Winton.
Formally it was the day when Queen Victoria signed documents granting Queensland the right to its own representative government.
When it comes to the plant world, Queensland native plants can be found growing in gardens all over the world. Closer to home, many of our local plants have also made their mark internationally.
Acacia podlayriifolia, known as the Mount Morgan Wattle or the Queensland Silver Wattle, was the floral emblem of the old Mount Morgan Shire Council.
It is a fast-growing small tree or large shrub, with beautiful rounded silvery-grey foliage and gold ball flowers that mass over the plant in winter, making it an ideal feature plant in most gardens. It prefers a sunny well-drained position but will tolerate heavier soils.
Callistemon viminalis Dawson River can be found in gardens across the world yet this floral emblem of Banana Shire Council is still a favourite of Queensland gardeners.
It is a medium-to-tall shrub with narrow foliage and an extreme weeping habit. Clusters of red flowers will appear in spring and autumn that are very bird-attractive.
It will grow in most positions but thrives in black soils and is best pruned after flowering. Callistemons are now known as Melaleucas.
Cupaniopsis anacardioides or Tuckeroo is a native tree of the eastern coast of Australia and is commonly seen along the Capricorn Coast.
It is ideal for use as a footpath tree and has even been successfully used in places such as Emerald.
The tree is recognised as a wild food plant, as when the fruit ripens, there is a red sticky pulp and a black seed, which is regarded as quite a delicacy to local indigenous groups.
Graptophyllum ilicifolium or Holly Fuchsia is found naturally growing in many of the small pockets of dry rainforest scrub to the north of Rockhampton.
This 2m to 3m shrub is a shade-loving plant, but it will grow in full sun. It is intolerant of frosts.
At the end of spring beautiful deep pink tubular flowers engross the entire shrub. The flowering season is short, but very showy.
A light prune after flowering will encourage a compact shrub as well as provide more flowers next year.
Feed with an organic fertiliser after the flowering has finished. All three of these plants would make a showy addition to most gardens.
The Holly Fuchsia is the floral emblem of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens.
Grevillea banksii or the Red Silky Oak can be seen growing along the side the Emu Park Road near the Tanby turn-off.
This medium-sized bushy shrub has silvery/grey divided leaves and spikes of bright red open brush-type flowers all year. It attracts numerous honeyeaters.
Prune off spent flowers for better flowering in the next year. A hardy, quick-growing shrub for sunny average position and it is salt tolerant.
Grevillea venusta or Byfield Grevillea would be a unique flowering native plant from Central Queensland.
A medium, very dense shrub 3m-4m x 2m-3m with broad shiny, bright green leaves and coppery new growth flowers of orange and green 8cm long appear during autumn and winter.
It requires a sunny or lightly-shaded position in a well-drained area.
It is a useful screen plant and provides something unique with its flowers.
All of these plants could be purchased in nurseries all around the world.