Friday, January 10, 2014

... on a mystery, solved!

Quite some time ago I wrote about finding these seedpods, which I then made a mould from and began casting. The resulting plaster versions have been featuring on one of my wall hangings ever since, but when people asked me, I had to admit that I didn't know what kind of a tree they were from.
I'd posted the question on an Australian plant forum, where it was suggested to be an immature Crow's Ash seedpod, which I thought was a possibility until I found a tree in the park and saw what the young pods looked like.
Crow's Ash (Flindersia australis) seedpods. The large open one was collected by my grandmother Mard somewhere on her travels, and the small one is an immature pod that I found beneath a tree in the Seventeen Mile Rocks park on the bank of the Brisbane River.
At the Finders Keepers market, one visitor said they looked just like bitter melon, and they do, a little... except bitter melon are green and large and the mystery seedpods were woody and small. No go.

It's funny - sometimes if you wait long enough, the answer to an old question will just... appear.

On my morning walk yesterday I took a route that I hadn't been along for some months. I was halfway up a particularly vicious hill, bordered on one side by a patch of bushland. As there was no footpath and the side of the road was gravelly and rutted, I was watching where I put my feet. Suddenly, among the spiny lantana branchlets grabbing at my socks, I saw a woody seedpod. It had opened up into three parts, but I could see that it had five lobes, and a rough exterior texture like my mystery pods. I peered up at the tree above, a towering rainforest-y type with large leaves and a smooth, mottled trunk. Could it be?
The mystery seedpod is as big as my hand... but what IS it?
Although Google had previously been no help to me, now I had some more information. I knew it was a tall rainforest tree native to Brisbane. I found a comprehensive list at Greening Australia, and started at the top. Some of the species had photographs of their fruit or seedpods, but for those that didn't I searched the scientific name in Google images. That's where I struck gold. My tree, with my pods. HURRAH! It's Queensland Maple! Flindersia brayleyana!
The interior of the Queensland Maple (Flindersia brayleyana) seedpod has the most wonderful texture - silky and papery and yet somehow woody at the same time.
I was on the right track with the Crow's Ash, even though they look like such different trees (and such different immature pods), as they both turned out to be Flindersia. I am so delighted to finally know what this is, and extra-happy that it's a Brisbane local!

Mystery solved. At last!


Plum Jayne said...

Oh my goodness!!! You just solved the same mystery I was looking for the answer for!! I just spent 2 hours googling! I have the same tree in my front yard and I saw the dried, split seed pods and thought they would make a nice art piece. Thank you for finding the answer!


kuber... said...

Glad I could help, Jess! They certainly are lovely pods, aren't they?