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Author Topic: Flowering Grass trees, aka black boys, aka Xanthorrea for Cindi  (Read 2349 times)
mick
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« on: January 20, 2007, 08:16:07 PM »

These trees flower after bushfires and are really a site to behold. The spikes contain thousands of tiny flowers. Called black boys by early european settlers, as from a distance they resemble an aboriginal holding a spear, complete with fuzzy hair.




And a sundew (drossera) for Nepthenes. They also flower after fire.

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reinbeau
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2007, 11:20:43 PM »

Those are awesome!  Fire is just nature's way of housecleaning.  Hell on us, but good for so much else.
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Cindi
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2007, 09:56:41 AM »

Mick, holy cracker!!!!  Now I have never seen something so cool in my life!!!  Tell me about the black boys, Xanthorrea.  I am also going to google it to understand.  But can you tell me any experience you have had with it?  How long after fire destruction does it take the trees to flower?  Incredible.

When we were in Fiji, I saw something that looked minutely similar.  I thought that they were just some kind of tree trunks standing in a group.  At that time we did not have a digital camera, just the old film one.  I have a picture, but it is a hard copy.  I would like to post it, so I am going to ask my husband if he can scan it for me, and maybe I can post it, maybe today.  He loves to display his photography, so he probably will.

I am only remembering what the photograph looks like, but I think that they might now be some kind of plant too.  We'll see, I'll look at it again and see if it might possibly be.  Great day.  Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2007, 10:09:15 AM »

Mick, I copied a little information from the net that you may find interesting about your grass tree.  Cool tree that you have growing in your country.  Great day. Cindi

<Xanthorreas, commonly known as the Grass Trees, are an iconic feature of Australia’s landscape. They have such an unusual form that they seem almost prehistoric with their thick asymmetrical black trunks and domes of fine arching foliage. There are 28 naturally occurring species that grow in a range of climates from Western Australia to the Northern Territory and Tasmania.  The Grass Tree can grow for up to 600 years. It is a very slow growing plant with the trunk taking over twenty years to develop, and on average they grow from 1 to 2 centimetres a year.  Its cultural and historical value to Australia’s indigenous community has been well documented. The flowering spike not only made the perfect fishing spear but also when it was soaked in water the nectar from the flowers gave a sweet tasting drink. In the bush the flowers were used as a compass. They would open in conjunction with the sun’s arc. Birds and insects are attracted to it and it makes a wonderful landscape plant.

It is illegal to take grass trees from the bush unless you are a licensed operator, and so the best way to obtain them is through a nursery. Each plant is given a tag to show that it has been professionally handled.  When planting a Xanthorrea in the garden, there are some practical tips to ensure that it survives.
Plant it in a sunny position
The soil needs to be free draining to avoid water-logging
Make sure that the soil around the root system is compacted
During the hot summer months a plant will need 30 – 50 litres of water a week>

Now that is a lot of water for sure.  I bet in the wild they don't get that much though.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
mick
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2007, 01:07:39 AM »

That about sums them up Cindi. They are very popular with landscapers, and are often "stolen" from the bush by idiots. One 6ft high sells for $300 on the black market. They burn to just black stumps, be that 1 foot or 6 foot or whatever. As soon as it rains they sprout their strappy foliage, and within a couple of months the flower spike appears. ALl manner of insects go crazy on those spikes. A spike such as those in the pics can have 10,000 individual flowers on it.
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Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2007, 08:59:16 AM »

That about sums them up Cindi. They are very popular with landscapers, and are often "stolen" from the bush by idiots. One 6ft high sells for $300 on the black market. They burn to just black stumps, be that 1 foot or 6 foot or whatever. As soon as it rains they sprout their strappy foliage, and within a couple of months the flower spike appears. ALl manner of insects go crazy on those spikes. A spike such as those in the pics can have 10,000 individual flowers on it.


Mick, I don't know why I have such an interest in flora, worldwide.  The plants from different parts of the world intrigue me.  The Xanthorrea that grows in your country is nothing short of magnificent.  And I find it amazing that the stalks of these grass trees grows so big.

It kind of reminds me of a swamp grass that grows here, obviously in swamps and watery mucky ditches.  They bring a fair price too, but I have no clue what the value really is.  It gets stalks that are similar in nature to the grass trees of your homeland.  When I was a kid and we picked them to play with we called them bullrushes, but they are called actually "cattail".  they are gathered frequesntly for the purpose of making dried flower arrangements mostly.  You may even have some species of cattail growing in Australia too.  The brown flower stalk is actually only about 6-12 inches long, quite tiny in contrast to your grass trees'.  This is what they look like up here.



Great day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2007, 12:00:26 AM »

Yeppers, that swamp grass with that flower spike we call "Bull Rushes". I have onely caught this once, but when the time is right, the humidity and wind all come together, the wind strips that stalk bare in seconds, right infront of your eyes, its amazing to see the seeds stream off it!
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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2007, 12:01:37 AM »

AWSOME!!!!!

whoohooo for the Drosera binata!!!

so cool i would love to see these in the wild!  rolleyes They love it when theirs fire cause all the grass that is gone and blocking the sun is gone so they can get maximum sunlight!!

*droool*
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2007, 09:28:55 AM »

Very cool indeed Mick.

I'm wondering what the texture of those golden/white stalks feels like - it almost has a paint roller (the fluffy one) looking texture to them.

Here in New Jersey when wild-fires burn down our forrests, the first thing to grow are simple ferns, nothing special about their look but they are surely plentiful.

I'm at work now and called Tracey to see your pics, I'll say it for the millionth time - LOVE THE PHOTOS GANG.... Keep them all coming Smiley

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Cindi
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2007, 09:32:25 AM »

John, now that would be interesting to hear how the stalks do feel, I agree, they look very much like a painter's roller, wonder if that could be used somehow?  Food for thought.  Ferns are a marvel of nature, such pretty and lovely plants.  Great day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2007, 08:31:37 PM »

The flower spikes feel like a sticky dunny brush! paint roller is not a bad comparison.
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Cindi
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2007, 08:14:39 AM »

The flower spikes feel like a sticky dunny brush! paint roller is not a bad comparison.
Mick, when I hear strange things it makes me ask strange questions.

So what is a dunny brush?  I know in different parts of the world things are called differently.  So, I am curious.  Great day.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2007, 09:02:03 AM »

Dunny brush is the brush you clean the toilet with.

Sincerely,
Brendhan
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« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2007, 09:24:49 AM »

Those are awesome!  Fire is just nature's way of housecleaning.  Hell on us, but good for so much else.
Having driven through yellowstone after the big fires, it is truly amazing to see nature "take back" the forrests inch by inch.
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