Thursday, 5 November 2009

Ancient Australian Fruit*


Coming into bloom in the Royal Botanic Gardens soon is the visually unexciting, but scientifically intriguing, flower of the Nightcap Oak. It has an even more fascinating fruit.

A few months ago the ABC Science page on the web proclaimed 'the critically endangered Nightcap Oak (Eidothea hardeniana)...depends on the forgetfulness of native bush rats'. The rats gather the fruits and hoard them away. Most are eaten but some are overlooked and germinate where the rats leave them.

The fruit looks a little like a walnut inside and has a pedigree taking it back a few million years or so...

For the rest of the Nightcap Oak story, see my earlier posting or listen to my Passion for Plants* chat with Simon Marnie this Saturday, between 9-10 am on 702AM.

Image: Richard Macey's story on Eidothea from the Sydney Morning Herald five years ago. (Sadly Richard retired from the Herald last month.)

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