TREE WARATAH (Alloxylon flammeum)

WARATAH

It’s probably timely to feature one of Australia’s most flamboyant trees (after the Protea in the previous post).

I hope I’ve got the identification correct as its slightly more fiery in colour than the red Waratah which is the national emblem of the state of New South Wales (above my state of Victoria).

WARATAH

Most Australian trees are quite modest in their flowering, but this particular one is truly spectacular and when in flower, at full-grown height of 18 meters,  must be a wonderful sight indeed.

This species originated in the Atherton Tablelands near Baldy Mountain Forest Reserve in Queensland.

Its scarlet-red, nectar-rich, bird-attracting flowers are abundant on the tree.

The images in this post come from Melbourne Zoo’s landscaping, just in front of the lion enclosure, not far from the Proteas featured in the previous post.

WARATAH

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(Interruption to this post to say I just saw a House Sparrow on my Blueberry bush which I’d placed on top of the air-conditioning outlet about 3 feet off the tiles of my balcony, right in direct view above my computer screen.  The bush is about 4′ in front of my direct view over the screen so I could keep an eye on it.  Unfortunately, I only had the 150-500mm lens on my desk with the lens cap off and the bird was too close to get in focus.

Looks like time to get the cotton netting out to protect all those lovely berries from the bird life that visit my balcony each day

All I can say is that I hope the still-green berry was tart and put the Sparrow off from having another snack).

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PROTEA

Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of South African flowering plants, sometimes called Sugarbushes in South Africa, but here in Australia, we just call them Proteas.

They dry exceptionally well and last for months as a cut flower (as long as you don’t put water in the vase which will make them rot and smell if you leave them long enough).  Sure, fill the vase with water if you only want them for a few weeks and don’t want the flowers to dry out.

While they’re not native to Australia, I have a lovely set of images, so this makes them worth sharing on my Nature Blog.

These 4 images were made quite by chance as I was walking towards the exit of Melbourne Zoo one day in 2013, (probably around mid to late afternoon), and surprisingly, I had my 150-500mm lens in my hand at the time.  I took 3 photos and then swapped to my 18-200mm lens to take another shot to include an un-opened bud in the background.

I’ve also photographed these long-lasting flowers in the Royal Botanic Gardens here in Melbourne, but those images were nowhere near as good (being shot on a more overcast day).

The Zoo images were on one day when ‘right time, right place’ applies, as it was late afternoon and the light was perfect for flower photography.