Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata)
Jarrah trees have stringy grey bark that protects the reddish coloured trunk from fire. White flowers are produced from spring to early summer, followed by globular cup-shaped nuts. Jarrah trees can grow up to 40 metres high with a trunk up to 3 metres in diameter. The biggest and best quality trees were removed by logging many decades ago but their stumps can still be seen, some trees even re-sprout from these stumps.
Many hundreds of insect species can be found on just one Jarrah tree alone. Other tree species such as Tuart and Marri support similar native invertebrate fauna.
Candle Banksia (Banksia attenuata)
The Candle Banksia is one of the most common banksias found across much of the Southwest of Western Australia. It is also referred to as the Slender Banksia due to its slender leaves. The leaves of the Candle Banksia have distinctive serrated edges, and are covered in spectacular – looking hairs as they grow, as shown here. During spring and summer (October to February) these trees produce numerous large yellow flower spikes up to 25cm tall and 5cm wide that look like candles.
The middle image shows a fallen banksia cone that was probably dropped by a Carnabys’ Black Cockatoo, which fed on them in winter. A germinating banksia seed is located next to the cone. Some seeds from banksia cones automatically fall every summer, so if you are observant, you will find banksia seedlings scattered throughout the reserve in winter.
The Candle Banksia flowers provide a great food source for nectar-eating birds, like the Wattlebird below, and insects. There is always a species of Banksia in flower at Warwick Bushland, providing a food source all year around.
Menzies Banksia (Firewood Banksia – Banksia menziesii)
These trees are very common in Warwick Bushland and produce many beautiful flowers in winter that contain abundant nectar. The two coloured red or pink and yellow flowers spikes are produced from February to October, providing nectar and pollen for nectar-feeding insects and birds such as honey eaters. The mature flower cones contain seeds and grubs that are an important food source for the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo.
Large intricately branched galls are very common on these trees. These are caused by unknown insects that induce cancer-like growths in which they live. These are common so trees must be used to supporting these freeloaders. You will often also see smaller galls inside banksia leaves.
Christmas Tree (Nutysia floribunda)
The bright yellow-orange flowers of this tree are displayed during the Christmas period (upper photo). It can be a shrub or tree growing up to 10 metres high. The flowers provide a rich source of pollen and nectar for birds and insects.
This tree is actually a type of mistletoe, most of which live as epiphytes attached to tree branches. However, this species is a root parasite that gains the majority of its water and nutrients from other plants. The lower photo shows the underground organs Nuytsia uses to do this. These are doughnut-shaped rings that latch onto the roots of other plants (5-15cm wide). These haustoria first sever the attached root and then establish a direct connection to the host’s vascular tissues. It has been reported that these can latch onto the roots of plants up to 150 metres away.