What's flowering now
Experience the magnificent colours and fragrances of blooming beauties and sensational seeds and fruits on show in our Gardens now.
prev. Phaius tankervilleae
This is a spectacular clumping ground orchid that has long 'pleated' dark green leaves that arise from partly buried egg-shaped pseudo-bulbs.
It can be up to 2m tall when in flower with up to 12 showy orchid flowers borne on the upper part of the cane-like stems. The flowers that can be up to 100mm in diameter are probably the largest of the Australian orchids. Flowers in September.
It was once widespread in eastern Australia, growing in swamps with grasses and sedges in the open or in open forests; however it is now Endangered in the wild.
The name is from the Greek dendron (meaning tree) and bios (meaning life).
The species are either epiphytic, growing on a tree, or occasionally lithophytic, growing over a rock. They have adapted to a wide variety of habitats.
The orchids in this genus often develop pseudobulbs, which unite into a long reed-like stem with a typical length of more than 30 cm.
Short, ovate leaves grow alternately over the whole length of the stems.
The axillary flower buds develop into short flower stalks with one or two terminal flowers. The orchids grow quickly throughout summer, but take a long rest during winter. In the spring, new shoots are formed from the base of the main plant and the dormant buds come back into action. The blooming flowers are found on pseudo-bulbs formed in the previous year.
Queensland Black Orchid
The Queensland Black Orchid is a large epiphytic orchid from warm parts of Australia often growing in tree forks or hollows.
Flowers are produced in large clusters or racemes that grow to about 40 cm long from September to October. Individual flowers are star shaped and about 4 cm across. The flower is variable from pale with reddish brown spots to almost black. The labellum is usually pale with reddish brown markings.
The long narrow leaves are channelled and grow to about 60 cm long. The pseudo-bulbs are about 10 cm long and greenish or grey green, with about two to six leaves growing from each pseudo-bulb.
You can see this orchid in the centre of the Tropical Shade Garden, high up on one of the five wharf logs. Don't miss it as it only blooms this month.
Golden Everlasting Daisy
Add a little everlasting sunshine to your garden...
These very popular plants bring long-lasting colour and warmth into the garden. There are many everlasting daisies available in nurseries with flowers varying from white through cream, lemon, canary yellow, gold and bronze.
This Everlasting Daisy has an erect habit and grows to around 1m in height. It has weak hollow stems and thin green leaves. Flowers occur from autumn to early summer and the plant will keep producing flowers particularly if spent flowers are continually removed. Butterflies and other insects love them and will flock to your garden adding another area of interest.
As seeds disperse, wild sown plants add a touch of surprise to your garden.
They are also excellent as dried flowers, keeping their shape and colour for years - just hang a bunch up-side-down in a dark airy place and let them dry for a few weeks.
Syzygium wilsonii subsp. wilsonii
An attractive beauty, showing off flowers and new growth in the Tropical Shade Garden.
Syzygium wilsonii subsp. wilsonii belongs to the genus of Syzygium (family Myrtaceae) containing over five hundred species, fifty occurring in Australia. Also known as the Powderpuff Lillypilly, it is perhaps one of the most attractive and versatile of the "Lillypillies", though still somewhat unknown and under-used in horticulture. The lillypillies are one of the most sought after horticultural plant groups for landscaping and gardens.
This species is endemic to the far north Queensland rainforests, from Ingham to Cooktown, in lowland rainforests from sea level to 600-700m, growing in relatively poor soils. This species can be easily incorporated into any patio, courtyard or rainforest garden.
It is a small shrub 1-3 m tall with extremely attractive flowers and foliage with clusters of edible fruit that attracts wildlife. It has weeping branches with lanceolate reddish brown new foliage. Stiff narrow leaves to 18 cm x 5 cm, dark green and dull on upper surface and paler on underneath side of leaf. This species is the only one of the lillypillies to have red flowers. They have large, fluffy heads and flower from spring to summer.
White clusters of ovoid shaped fleshy fruits.The fleshy fruits can be easily propagated from the seed once fleshy fruit has been removed.
Plant out in a shaded or sheltered position away from drying winds and full sun. It can also be used as a specimen shrub in a raised garden bed or against a wall. Keep the plant well mulched and composted, it's also responds well to regular fertilizing encouraging new growth. This species responds well to regular tip pruning increasing the number of flowers produced.
To increase the impact of the plant try to incorporate with other species suck as palm lilies, native gingers, ground covers and ornamental grasses. This will help create a structured garden with differing layers of height. This species can also be used as an under storey plant for a more established rainforest garden. This species is a particularly attractive potted plant making it accessible for people with smaller gardens and courtyards. The flowers can be used to attract wildlife such as birds and honeyeaters.
This species is an excellent ornamental plant for a garden with its showy red puffy flowers, reddish brown new foliage and clusters of white fruits.
Reference: Text by Chris McCarthy, Australian National Botanic Gardens - growing, studying and promoting Australia's flora.
Flowering and fruiting throughout the year
Morinda citrifolia - Cheese Fruit
The Cheese Fruit Tree is always found growing close to the coastline in tropical areas. It looks more like a bush than a tree with low set large broad glossy green leaves. The flowers are small, white and sweet scented. The fruit is elongated in shape with irregular depressions on the outer surface. The fruit turns from green to whitish-yellow when fully ripe. The fruit is unmistakable, with translucent flesh, many brown - bluish seeds and a powerful aroma similar to rancid cheese when very ripe. It is best eaten when two thirds ripe. The fruit is produced throughout the year. It can be eaten raw or cooked and the young leaves are also edible.
The tree is also referred to as the Noni or the Native Custard Apple.
Cheese fruit trees can be found in the Tropical Shade Garden of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens and along the lagoon paths near the Heritage Gardens and approaching the Eulamere Boardwalk entrance.
Cordyline manners-suttoniae - Giant Palm Lily
I'm a palm lily native to coastal Queensland, where I'm found in rainforests, often in swampy situations.
In spring or summer, I produce an attractive panicle of white flowers, followed by cascades of bright berries which transform in colour from green, yellowish green, sometime pinkish to red.
You can find specimens of this plant in the Tropical Shade Garden of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens and next to the path to the left of the welcome sign at the main entrance adjacent to the carpark. At the moment you can see displays of the flowers and the berries at the same time. A glorious sight.
Mackay Regional Council Queens Park houses the 'Ken Burgess Display House' commonly called the Orchid House.
This fabulous collection of orchids is situated in Queens Park in East Mackay, not at the Botanic Gardens which is in West Mackay. Admission is free and well worth a look.