Queens Cascades, Jamison Creek viewed from the top of Wentworth Falls
Join with all the Bushcare Groups, Council staff and interested residents who are working to look after the Jamison Creek catchment, improve the water quality the creek which flows over Wentworth Falls and is the habitat the Threatened plant species, Pherosphaera fitzgeraldii.
¨ Work together in this beautiful creek removing Montbretia and a range of other woody weeds
¨ Help protect the catchment from invasive weeds while enjoying good company
¨ Morning tea and lunch all provided
¨ Tools and Training provided
¨ Talks on our Healthy Waterways project and the Jamison Creek catchment health by Geoffrey Smith and Eric Mahony
Registration is essential. Please RSVP to Monica Nugent firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 4780 5528 before Monday 6 March 2017 for more information about where to meet and what to expect.
Pherosphaera Katoomba Falls photo courtesy Ian Brown
Govetts Leap Blackheath – Weeds are just a waterfall away! Come along and stop the weeds going over the edge at Govetts Leap and enjoy a special morning tea with a spectacular view. Book with Vanessa on (02) 47873112 or email@example.com,gov.au by Friday 24th February.
A full day of weeding and bushwalking to continue the work in a rugged part of Katoomba Creek. Some bush regeneration and bushwalking experience is needed. This involves off track walking and creek wading. A joint NPWS – BMCC activity. Numbers limited. Lunch and morning tea provided. Book with Lyndal on 4780 5623 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday 24th Nov.
Fitzgeralds Catchment Group meet to discuss what is happening in the catchment, and where to in the future. Meeting is held at Warrimoo RFS Brigade station. To find out more contact Steve Barratt on 47 536 339 or Peter Chrismas on 4780 5623, or email email@example.com.
Pseudopanax crassifolius photo credit: Mike Hudson
One day, at bushcare with the Wentworth Falls Lake Bushcare Group, Ross Day called me over to identify a strange plant. It was like nothing we had seen before, five close vertical stems with enormous trifoliolate leaves springing directly from them on long petioles. Those leaves were dark green, only about 25 mm wide, but anything up to 400 mm long. And tough! They were also armed with vicious teeth along the margins.
It was identified by staff at the Herbarium in Sydney as the New Zealand Lancewood, Pseudopanax crassifolius, in the family Araliaceae. (It has a relative in SW Tasmania called Pseudopanax gunnii, and both are related to our Elderberry panax, Polyscias sambucifolia).
The intriguing ecology of this plant involves a straight upright trunk with largely inedible leaves. All this is designed to deter being eaten by the NZ Southern Giant Moa, a flightless bird 3 m high. Of course the Maoris killed the last one hundreds of years ago, but in evolutionary terms the tree hasn’t caught up yet! Even more amazing is that after 15-20 years, when the tree gets to about 5 m, well out of the range of the Giant Moa, it changes abruptly to produce broad succulent leaves in a short canopy, and then flowers more or less normally.
Don’t ask me how it got to Wentworth Falls! We surmise that it was a garden plant that was no longer required, dug up, and thrown in the bush to die. It didn’t, but put down roots in the damp leaf litter and survived. I suspect that it was lying down at the time, and that the present five trunks sprouted like epicormic regrowth from that trunk.
Swampcare is following up on previous work done at the headwaters of Yosemite Creek. A day for those who like to see a job finished rather than working on the big weeds. Lunch and morning tea donated by Hominy Bakery. Book with Lyndal 4780 5623. firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday 7th July
by Ian Baird Friends of Katoomba Falls Creek Valley Bushcare Group & Remote Bushcare
Over a number of years, I have walked the Victory Track along Saffasfras Creek from Faulconbridge to Springwood, exploring various tributaries and their associated gallery rainforests. On one occasion I was surprised to find, growing next to the track in the rainforest, a sparsely branched, medium-sized shrub with very large leaves, and observed that it looked a bit like a hydrangea. However, I had a feeling it was the native hydrangea and that I had seen a photo of it in Fairley and Moore (2000). I looked it up later, and confirmed that it was the native hydrangea, Abrophyllum ornans, a member of the Roussaceae family (F.Muell.) Hook.f. ex Benth. More recently, on two occasions, I have found individual plants near the track in the rainforest in different locations.
Native Hydrangea photo courtesy of Lyndal Sullivan
The most recent sighting was of a plant (photographed) regrowing from the base after having been sawn off near ground level by someone. It occurred to me that this may have been a case of a well-intentioned, but misguided attempt at weed control by a bush regenerator or bushcarer, as the plant does stand out as something unusual. This is thus a salutary warning that the native flora contains many plants that do not necessarily fit the mould, in terms of many people’s perceptions of what ‘typical’ native plants look like, and the need for bushcarers to exercise caution. If in doubt, when deciding whether a plant is a weed. It is best to ask someone with appropriate ID skills before taking action.
The native hydrangea is the only species in the genus (monotypic). The species has previously been included within the Saxifragaceae, and more recently, the Escalloniaceae (with possumwood, Quintinia sieberi). Shrubs or small trees to 8 m high. Flowering October–December. Its habitat is warm-temperate and subtropical rainforest, especially along smaller watercourses or in gullies on poorer soils. The natural range of distribution is from the Illawarra of NSW (north of the Shoalhaven River) to the McIlwraith Range in far north eastern Australia. NSW subdivisions: NC, CC, SC. For the plant description see Plantnet: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Abrophyllum~ornans