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Thought Mail

from robertwhyteus
to richardharding317H99
DATE: 26 October 3003
TIME: 4.34pm EGT (Eastern Galactic Time)

First of all, Dick, don't be alarmed.

Sure, it's been eleven days since I entered the Greater Enoggera Catchment on my quest to find rare exotics ... And I do admit I am totally and utterly lost, but don't worry, I'll find my way out eventually.

There's plenty of fresh drinking water in the creeks, and loads of bush tucker, so I won't starve - but I still don't seem any closer to finding what I'm looking for.

I know I only have my holidays for my hobby searching for specimens for my collection, but since that's 26 weeks every year, you'd think I would have found something by now.

I admit, I'm a bit discouraged.

I got a hot tip that someone had seen the rare Madeira Vine in this catchment. What a joke. I haven't seen any evidence at all, not a leaf, stem or tuber. I'll be having words with my source when I get back.

Chinese Elm
Historical photo of Chinese Elm from the archives. What a treat to find one!

As for Balloon Vine and Cats-claw - I've given up even looking for them, after what happened this morning.

I had climbed 50 metres to the top of a Blue Quandong to try to see a landmark to help me find my way (hopeless - the canopy just stretched forever on all directions) and while I was being laughed at by parrots and rosellas in the canopy I thought I saw some of the yellow Cats-claw flowers in the distance.

I climbed down and set off through thick scrub full of Satin Ash, Tuckeroo, Tulipwood, Weeping Myrtle, Davidson Plum - hard going I can tell you - only to find those yellow flowers - when I found them - were Native Frangipanni.

What a disappointment! I had really built my hopes up - I actually thought I had found the elusive Cats-claw creeper!

I have to admit, I was heartbroken. I had a little cry, as I snacked on some Native Guava for morning tea.

Eventually, I brightened up - where there's life there's hope - and in the cool rainforest, watching the platypus playing in the creek - well you can't stay sad for long.

Imagine me finding Cats-claw! After all, if I'd had no luck finding so called hardy exotics like Ochna, Lantana, Privet or Mulberry what hope did I have for Cats-claw - it's so much rarer.

It would be like finding Singapore Daisy, Morning Glory, Asparagus Vine, or Mother of Millions. Fat chance! Dream on, Roberteus!

Of course I didn't even bother trying to look for such impossibly rare plants as Castor Oil or Devil's Fig - which disappeared from this region over 900 years ago.

My best hope was to find some big ones like Camphor Laurel… and of course my number one target - the Chinese Elm. Surely I could find a Chinese Elm, a species recorded in this catchment less than 250 years ago.

If only I'd been around a thousand years ago! Apparently, exotics (no longer found round here) like Japanese sunflower and African tulip - were quite common.

Oh well, I had better keep going. You never know, I might get lucky and see something really rare, like Black-eyed Suzy or Green Cestrum. Now that would be something.

You have no idea how much I envy your trips overseas where you can see these species in their native countries - as you know, my world visa was taken off me after I was caught smuggling in Senegal Tea for my water feature.

But if that hadn't happened, perhaps I wouldn't ever been inspired to take up this hobby of searching for these rare exotic species in this beautiful Enoggera rainforest.

Wait a minute… is that a Cocos Palm I see up ahead?