by Robert Whyte

I’m sure there are a lot more plants beginning with A than with X or Z. Those poor cousin letters down at the bottom of the alphabet hardly get a mention.

Lets look at the Zeds in Enoggera species. We have Zanthoxylum Brachyacanthum (Thorny yellow-wood) Zehneria Cunninghamii (Slender cucumber) Zieria Smithii (Sandfly zieria) and Zornia Muriculata (Zornia).

I know them all intimately – NOT. I’ve seen Slender Cucumber in a book once and even thought we had a specimen, but it turned out to be an Einadia. Harumph.

As for Ys – the only Y recorded by Peter Young in Brisbane Forest Park is Youngia (coincidence?) Japonica. Not a forest giant, by any means. In fact it’s a daisy. A herb to 60cm. Double harumph. In my photo collection the only Y I have is “Yellow Slime Mould”.

Thank goodness for the Xanthorrheas (Grass Trees)! At least everybody knows these icons of the Australian bush.

But lets face it – if you were to pick a letter, you really can’t go past A. In the Enoggera catchment there are 109 plants starting with A in Peter Young’s list, and even though some of the Austromyrtus species have been renamed in honour of Wayne Goss (Gossia), there are still over 100.

And the A’s have some of the biggest and most beautiful. The cream rises to the top, as they say.

Araucaria Cunninghamii (Hoop Pine) for example. At 60m probably our tallest tree. Majestic. And Alectryons – marvellous plants. Edible, and native insects that feed on it might be able to be trained to eat Balloon Vine.

And who can remain unmoved at the beautiful mimic mistletoe Amylotheca Dictyophleba. Just saying the name is pure pleasure.

Amylotheca dictyophleba (Scrub Mistletoe) on a Hard Quandong in Walton Bridge Reserve.

Aphananthe Philippinensis has been a long time favourite. Tough as old boots, bush tucker, slow growing – a good sign of a quality remnant.

Aphananthe philippinensis (Rough Leaved Elm, Axe Handle Wood)

OK, if you’re still with me and I haven’t given you a case of the Zeds (snore) with all this plant talk, let me confess.

The real reason my favourite plant begins with A is the website. I’ve just about finished doing up good descriptions of all the Enoggera species beginning with A in our database. Not complete – only the ones with photographs. Still a good number.

Here are links to some of them. Have a squiz. You may be surprised!

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Small twiner in amongst grasses and shrubs with stoloniferous stems (capable of taking root, producing new plants). Leaves are trifolilate, sometimes long and skinny, sometimes rounder. Similar to G. clandestina which has no petiolules (it has sessile...

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Seringia arborescens (MALVACEAE) Seringia

Tall shrub to 8 m high with young branches rusty-hairy, in moist eucalypt forest, widespread but not common. Leaves ovate to lanceolate, to 15 cm long, hairless or almost so on upper surface, hairy lower surface, petiole 5–10 mm long. Inflorscences are...

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Solanum aviculare (SOLANACEAE) Kangaroo apple, Poroporo

Common in moist regions of eastern and southern Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand in margins of sub-tropical rainforest and as a regrowth plant in cleared scrubby areas. Soft-wooded shrub growing to 4m with simple, alternate, margins entire or...

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Waterhousea floribunda (MYRTACEA) Weeping Lilly Pilly

Habit and distribution A medium to large tree, 15-30 m high with dense, drooping branches. Grows along creeks and rivers from Newcastle to Mackay. Known as Syzygium floribundum by some botanists. Has many common names including: Weeping Lilly Pilly, Weeping...

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Zornia muriculata ssp angustata? (FABACEAE) Zornia

Habit Prostrate or decumbent perennial to c. 30 cm high widespread in grassland and open forest. Leaves with 2 leaflets; lower leaflets more ovate, upper ones lanceolate to linear. Pea flower, yellow to orange with dark red markings. This could be Z....

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Wikstroemia indica (THYMELAECEAE) Bushman’s Bootlace, Tie Bush

Habit Small tree or shrub, mostly to 1.5 m high widespread common on rocky, dry hillsides and edges of rainforest. Stems hairless (smooth) or sparsely hairy on juveniles and new growth, later smooth and shiny. Leaves to 6 cm, hairless, upper surface dark...

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Vitex lignum-vitae (LAMIACEAE) Lignum-vitae, Satinwood

Medium tree to 30m found in dry or subtropical rainforest from Richmond R, NSW to Cape York, Nth Qld, and as far west as Bunya Mtns; found locally in the western suburbs of Brisbane & in Brisbane Forest Park. Also occurs in New Guinea. Leaves have pale...

Glycine tabacina (FABACEAE) Twining Glycine, Love Creeper

Viola betonicifolia (VIOLACEAE) Arrow-leaved Violet

Plant and leaves Tufted, herbaceous plant growing from 5-40 cm high depending on local conditions. Arrow shaped leaves to 10cm long from the base. In exposed situations, plants may die down to a perennial root-stock, particularly during a severe winter or...