Archive for November, 2011
The fruit of Bernie’s Tamarind or Diploglottis berniana are abundant on the rainforest floor. We can thank Cyclone Yasi for the masses of colourful fruit, including blue Cassowary Plums, red Black Palm seeds, white Bumpy Satinash apples, Yellow and Noah Walnuts and grey/green Kuranda quandongs and purple/black Davidson Plums, which litter our pathways and forest with a smorgasbord of delicacies. Cyclones are essential for stimulating regeneration.
Spectacular orange floral fungus enhances the beauty of the rainforest, with its bright colour attracting the appropriate insects to traffic spores in a general absence of wind. We are familiar with the White Jelly Fungus or Silver Ear (Tremella fuciformis), but this magnificent variation is delightfully new to us.
The yellow version is called “witches butter” because it can unexpectedly appear first thing in the morning and it is gives a warning:
November has been warm and moist providing perfect conditions for a multitude of fungi, mushrooms and toadstools to emerge. As we struggle to identify each of these fungi, we are humbled by the complexity of these important members of our rainforest. Using the computer and our limited library of books, we search for a name. This brilliant red, waxy toadstool is the fruiting body of an inconspicuous fungus that thrives on leaf litter, rotting wood and soil. Is it a vermillion waxcap or ruby bonnet?
I found this snub-nosed katydid the other day and it has been on the same plant (Medicosma sp. indet1) these past three days. Its resting position changes overnight from branch to branch, but remains at the terminal end where the tegmina of one side or the other is rotated to conform with the positioning of a new leaf. Holding this posture, the bold central ‘vein’ mimics that of the tree’s leaves and the curvature of the head and fore-legs conforms to the tapering of the leaf at its drip-point.
Thousands of abseiling caterpillars are raining down on our heads as we walk through our tropical orchard of rare and exotic fruits. Gossamer threads are falling from the mangosteen leaves each bearing a small 1cm long caterpillar. Some plummet to the ground, others hang in mid-air or ascend onto an adjacent leaf to munch on the new young leaves. Once they start consuming leaves, their growth rate is rapid and they can double their original size in one day. Complex networks of webbing now shroud many of our mangosteen trees, resembling the work of crazy, uncoordinated spiders.