Will this new plant invade everything everywhere?

Yesterday I went exploring along the riparian zone of the Flood Creek willow forest. I saw some interesting stuff which will be part of an upcoming post, but I also found a plant I hadn’t seen there before. It looks familiar, but I can’t name it for sure. I’d guess rhododendron, but not certain about the serrated leaves.

I’m worried it might be invasive and going to take over the whole world!

No, I’m actually just kidding.

Can anyone provide a positive ID? Have you seen this plant? Did it escape from your garden? Or did you set it free?

Here are four photos. Click the images to see them a bit bigger. Some of the glossiness of the leaves is due to honeydew from aphids on willows above.

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8 responses to “Will this new plant invade everything everywhere?

  1. The plant featured in the newsletter I just received looks like Pittosporum undulatum or Sweet Pittosporum. Shirley Henderson Sent from my iPad

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    • Thanks Shirley, I’ll follow that lead when I get a chance. Off the top of my head I’d have thought we’re a bit too far inland and elevated for pittosporum here in Braidwood, but it would be interesting if that was it. I know on the south coast, with the absence of regular burning by Aboriginal land mangers, pittosporum has spread beyond its pre-European niche on south facing slopes and in moist gullies, and is now considered as a native weed by some. Whatever it is, it’s interesting that there seems to be only one (so far). It’s obviously pretty at home under the willow it’s growing beside. Another understory species to add to the mix at Flood Creek. Makes me wonder what else we’ll find.

  2. Well spotted Shirley .

    Glad its not Rhododendron . Hakai has a good story about the honey farmers of Baluchistan dealing with Alexander the Greats Army .

    Its hard for us to really know what the floristics were like before Apocalypse Cow .
    The tasty broadleafs were the first to be munched by sheep and the most likely to be ringbarked by rabbits later . We may never know quite how species rich the forests here were .
    Maybe the forest mix of the eastern fall gully biomes rolled over the range and down to Warri ?
    Very likely the heavier forests of those days recycled much more rain and Flood Creek was more like Minna Murra ?
    And just maybe , that Pittosporum seed has been lying in wait for a hundred years . Or maybe a bird brung it , we really can’t be sure .

    For the creative use of the heavy shading Pittosporums see the terrific Hinewai Reserve on Banks Penninsula near Christchurch .
    Hugh Wilson uses them to shade out and suppress Scotch Broom , Gorse and Blackberries .

    Bens other observation is of huge significance . The heavy fall of sugars from aphids working the willows. That is a gigantic influx of food for soil microbes .

    Willows are a particularly giving plant . Hundreds of kilos of sugar exudates into the rhizosphere , hundreds of kilos of mannitol , fructose etc from manna fall , goodness knows how much condensed tannins influencing soil health . Aspirin in the bark to calm the spirits of sheep and cows .

    The tragedy of the Willow War is it has denied farmers the right to a powerful tool for soil repair , nutrient filtering , shelter , biomass production , wildlife habitat , long fodder etc .

    Just turn attention away from streamlines and look up into the paddocks . Up there willows can do uniquely wonderful things with absolutely no down side .

    Nativists have killed that knowledge . Shame on them .

    Yesterday we were measuring the manna fall in a patch of Matsudana we were coppicing .
    Stock were queued up for their favourite food . The logs were headed for Shitake production .
    The soil was vastly better than when we planted them .
    I realised that these 20 yo trees were actually Landcare Endorsed .
    The first Chairman of Braidwood Landcare , the mighty Dr John Loveday , gave us the cuttings .
    We are so grateful he did .

    About time that USLC had a fraction of the scientific insight it possessed in Johns day . More power to you Ben .

    PM

  3. A very good idea .

    John was an outstanding role model . I want to be just like him when I grow up .

    A scientist of deep learning and rigour . Stone mason , farmer , raised a gorgeous family . We must invite them along .

    I have several gene lines which he passed on from CSIRO days . He was Chief of Soils Division in the days when that meant a lot .

    There is another excellent scientist , probably listening , who might help out ? A close friend of Dr Lovedays . Will ask him .

    Regards

    PM

  4. I knew Dr John Loveday. He was the original force for Landcare in this district. He set up and chaired the precursor to USLC, the Tallaganda Landcare Working Group. He was knowledgeable and a rigorous and critical thinker. He was also an extremely generous and community minded person – a giant. His wife, Jan, still alive I’m sure, is also a kind, warm hearted kindred spirit to John.

    I definitely support efforts to honour Dr Loveday and other contemporaries of his who may or may not still be alive. If the person you’re thinking of, Peter, is the same person I’m thinking of, then yes there’s no time to waste. Knowledge is so easily lost with the passing of generations.

    Cheers
    Peter Hazell

  5. Dear Peter H ,

    Glad you like the idea .
    The lovely Jan says she would be honoured if we created a Loveday Grove .
    I’ll save a hundred cuttings from 6-8 species .
    I suggest some should be grown as specimen trees to frame the grove .
    Others can be coppiced on a three or four year cycle to produce planting material for farms far and wide .
    I’m sure we are thinking of the same splendid , young at heart , scientist .
    Would you like to ask him if he will be involved ? Perhaps he might republish his work on Fodder Willows on this site ? It’s high time that subject was revitalised .

    Regards

    PM

  6. Dears Peter and Peter, I have no doubt you guys know your stuff when it comes to ‘acknowledging significant contributors to the cause’.
    As I don’t know the people you are referring to, or indeed on just what grounds you make your choice, I will submit some criteria of my own.

    Firstly, I would only consider those having made a contribution to the discussions at this open forum.
    Secondly, I would consider ‘paid professional research’ already rewarded, not withstanding generally supportive conclusions.
    Thirdly, I think there will be some operational difficulties down the line if actions, binding on us all, pick up to much steam before a general theme is floated in our virtual world.

    In case it’s not obvious I am in favor of dissolving the house of lords before it gets traction in Australia.
    Robbo

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