Monday, August 8, 2016

Purple flowers of the Native Sarsaparilla vine

8th August 2016

Native Sarsaparilla Hardenbergia violacea (Also known as Happy Wanderer or False Coral Pea) is a twining vine common in the local area.  Purple 10mm flowers appear in spring, however this one was flowering abundantly at the Charles & Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve, Highfields today. 

Flowers of the Native Sarsparilla Hardenbergia violacea , creeping up on a eucalyptus tree.

Native Sarsparilla Hardenbergia violacea 


Native Sarsparilla Hardenbergia violacea 



Monday, July 4, 2016

Library Story Walk at Rogers Reserve

4 July 2016

HIGHFIELDS LIBRARY STORY WALK AT CHARLES & MOTEE ROGERS BUSHLAND RESERVE

The staff at Highfields Library organized a second walk for children and parents through the Charles & Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve today.  Sixteen children and their parents attended the guided tour, lead by Judi Gray from the Friends of Rogers Reserve Group.  Many interesting discoveries were made and despite it being winter, there was still plenty to see.  Children learnt about the history of the bushland reserve, the importance of tree hollows and what wildlife uses them, how to recognize signs of different noctural species, including bandicoots, echidnas, gliders and red-triangle slugs.  The children spotted plenty of interesting things themselves including some fungi, vines and different types of moss.

The walk concluded with Samantha from the Highfields Library inspiring the children to create artistic collages with leaves, rocks, flower and sticks found in the reserve, and they did a wonderful job using their creativity to create a variety of different designs and art.

Plenty of positive feedback from the walk was received from the children and parents, and hopefully everyone went away learning something new and had an enjoyable experience and a left with a new appreciation for the inner suburban bushland reserve in Highfields. 

J.G.

Judi & Samantha with some of the children attending the walk through Charles & Motee Rogers Reserve

An Australian Magpie looks on at the walkers below.


Checking out a large tree hollow in the reserve.

The children loved seeing the huge tree hollow.

Looking in the large tree hollow.

Finding feathers on the forest floor.

Learning about the huge fallen tree within the reserve, thought to be hundreds of years old.

Learning about the native Fig Trees growing within the reserve.


These little brown fungi were discovered by one of the children on the walking track - a great find!


Some of the wattle in flower within the reserve

Miss Samantha, inspiring the children with ideas on how to create beautiful art from forest floor finds.


Leaf Art


There were some great creations made from leaves, rocks, branches etc.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Removal of Moth Vine

10 May 2016

REMOVAL OF MOTH VINE (aka FALSE CHOKO)
by Greg Lukes

Moth Plant (Common Moth Vine, False Choko)
Araujia sericifera
Family: Asclepidiaceae

Araujia sericifera in Australia is considered a weed. It is a rapid growing vine with oval leaves, sometimes with a slightly heart-shaped base, and a white underside, growing in opposite pairs. The leaf upper surface is a dull dark green, not glossy. Milky sap is produced from cuts or other damage. Showy white shortly tubular flowers are held in the leaf axils. Seeds have a tuft of hairs to assist dispersal, and are packed tightly into a leathery green choko-like capsule, which splits when ripe.

It is found widespread in a variety of habitats, but most common in moist soils along rivers. Impacts native bushland by climbing over shrubs and small trees, smothering and breaking them down. Also spreads over the ground, smothering native groundcover plants. Seeds are readily spread on the wind and in water.

Control 
CAUTION The milky sap is an irritant to the skin and eyes. Wear gloves when handling this plant and avoid getting the sap in the mouth or eyes.
Young plants are easily hand-pulled if growing in loose soil, or can be dug out. Large plants can be treated by the scrape and paint method.
When removing any species of vines, be careful about pulling them down, as this can damage the supporting plant. Generally, they are better left to die off and break up in place, unless this would involve leaving seed pods in the canopy. Try to control vines (and other weeds) before seed has formed to avoid this problem, but if fruits are present (even if they are still green), they should be collected as carefully as possible and disposed of properly.

Native Look-alikes 
The flowers and choko-like fruits are distinctive but there are some native climbers with similar leaves.
Milk vines (Marsdenia rostrata and M. flavescens) also have milky sap and opposite leaves. However, the upper surface is shiny and the underside pale green in M. rostrata and yellowish in M. flavescens. Flowers are smaller and yellow, and seed pods long and narrow. (Found from Gold Coast down to Victoria.) Common silkpod (Parsonsia straminea) has similar leaves which are dull green above and paler green below, yellow flowers and long cigar-shaped pods. The small native vine Tylophora barbata has clear sap, opposite pale green leaves, and the rarely produced flowers are small and dark purple.
Article and further images can be found on this website
www.esc.nsw.gov.au/living-in/about/our-natural-environment/introduced-plants-and-animals/weeds/weed-profiles/moth-plant-araujia-sericifera,-formerly-a

Video on moth vine removal
www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5ncXvKSeFc&feature=related

Local note. We found some seeds along the track that unfortunately had recently been dispersed by the wind. Larger plants growing in the loose soil can also be dug out carefully lifting out all the main roots which can travel for metres just below the surface. Monitor the area for reshoots within 1-3 months after removal.

The 'white fluff' shown on the track are Moth Vine Seeds that have dispersed in the wind.

A close up of the fluffy moth vine seeds

Here you can see the actual seed within the white fluff of the moth vine plant

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fruits of the Red Olive Plum

6 May 2016

Red Olive Plum (australe var.australe) 
fruiting at the Charles & Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve, Highfields.

Red Olive Plum (australe var.australe)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Iconic marks of the Red-Triangle Slug on a Sydney Blue Gum

05th May 2016

RED TRIANGLE SLUG MARKS ON A SYDNEY BLUE GUM TREE IN CHARLES & MOTEE ROGERS BUSHLAND RESERVE, HIGHFIELDS.

It was only in the last year that I learnt that these iconic marks, often seen on Sydney Blue Gum Trees on the Darling Downs, were from the Red-Triangle Slug.  Thanks to Robert Ashdown, I now can recognize these marks easily, and am noticing them all over the Toowoomba Region. 

Today, I was thrilled to see a large Sydney Blue Gum Tree with the Red-triangle Slug marks on it in the Charles & Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve.  It was pleasing to know that these iconic looking invertebrates are living within our treasured suburban bushland reserve.  I look forward to going back on a damp night to have a better look for the slugs themselves.

The Red-Triangle Slug (Triboniophorus graeffei) is in the mollusc family and is Australia's largest native land slug. The distinctive red triangle on its back contains the breathing pore. The Red Triangle Slug is usually found grazing on microscopic algae growing on the surface of smooth-barked eucalypt trees, leaving behind scalloped tracks as it goes. (Information source: Australian Museum)

For further information about the Red Triangle Slug's of the Toowoomba Region, I suggest viewing Rob Ashdown's Blog here.

J.Gray


Red Triangle Slug marks on a Sydney Blue Gum at Charles & Motee Rogers Bushland Reserve, Highfields. 05/05/16