by ST Blake and C Roff
This book came in the mail yesterday and I rushed it straight from the post office to the nursery. Has anyone read or used this book?
It is a bit of a misnomer. Some of the plants listed produce pollen only, "objectional propolis" or honey with "a somewhat displeasing aroma" or "of little value for table purposes"! It was a little disappointing to find that of the two bottlebrushes listed, one produces honey with "a weak density and poor flavour". The bottlebrushes and grevillea we planted for the bees are thriving now, many different varieties, and the bees are all over them. I guess they either love them or are starving.
Anyway, there were two plants that piqued my interest and the interest of my nurseryman. A couple of years ago I'd asked him to order in a coolibah tree. This is purely because I feel disgraced that I don't know what a coolibah looks like. But they are hard to come by and he hasn't found one yet. This is the Eucalyptus microtheca. However, the book also lists the Eucalyptus orgadophila, or Mountain coolibah. You would be familiar with this, Westmar? It produces honey "of a good density with a good mild flavour and candies with a creamy fine grain". It flowers every 4 years and I guess takes 40 years to start flowering, but despite these setbacks, my nurseryman is on the job to acquire a couple of saplings.
The other tree is a swamp mahogany. This is confusing because two different trees are called swamp mahogany. But the one my nurseryman is familiar with flowers every year. I think the one he'll look for is the Eucalyptus robusta.
Many names are confusing; many trees have several different local names and even more than one botanical name. There are many different paperbarks in the book and it is hard to know if they are ones we have here.
There are sections on coastal central, paroo district and north queensland flora, as well as the SE.