I enjoy planting and nurturing native Australian trees and shrubs. Over the past 10 years, family members have helped in this endeavour and we have planted many thousands. The result is that I now live in a beautiful place which has many maturing specimens – a far cry from the tiny seeds which was how they all started out.
I can now walk under their branches, getting glimpses of the ecosystems that have evolved in the short space of a decade.
This year, for the first time, I have found mistletoe growing on a number of the Ironbarks (a type of Eucalyptus with a very dark trunk).
For many folks, the mention of mistletoe conjures visions of snow, Christmas and the odd carol or two. It is rarely considered to be something of interest in late April.
But have you ever seen Australian mistletoe plants – and did you know they even existed? The leaves are intriguing in that they mimic those of their host Eucalypts by hanging vertically!
I was astounded at the beauty of the buds and flowers, but they made for rather difficult subjects to photograph!
This particular species grows as a parasite on the tree branches (having arrived as a seed in bird droppings) and can eventually kill its host tree if enough mistletoe plants become established on the same host.