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!

Abrophyllum ornans (CARPODETACEAE) Native Hydrangea

Abrophyllum ornans (CARPODETACEAE) Native Hydrangea

Small tree to 8 m along watercourses in rainforests in Queensland and New South Wales. Leaves are alternate and irregularly toothed and 10-20 cm long. Small, greenish yellow and white flowers in clusters in spring and summer. Fruit are small, black, fleshy...

Abutilon oxycarpum (MALVACEAE) Small-leaved Abutilon

Abutilon oxycarpum (MALVACEAE) Small-leaved Abutilon

Shrub to 2 m, often soft with velvety leaves and weak stems on rocky slopes creek banks and sometimes in rainforest. Found throughout Australia though possibly rare and threatened in Victoria. Also known as Small-flowered Abutilon, Straggly...

Acacia bakeri (MIMOSACEAE) Marblewood, Baker’s Wattle

Acacia bakeri (MIMOSACEAE) Marblewood, Baker’s Wattle

Erect or spreading tree to 30 m, north from Mullumbimby area in wet sclerophyll eucalypt forest and rainforest. Rare, threatened, vulnerable in the wild. Referred to as the rainforest acacia. Bark finely fissured or sometimes smooth. Phyllodes elliptic to...

Acacia complanata (MIMOSACEAE) Flat-stemmed Wattle

Acacia complanata (MIMOSACEAE) Flat-stemmed Wattle

Arching shrub or small tree to 5 m. Erect or spreading, in dry sclerophyll forest, woodland and heath, in sandy and gravelly soil from Coffs Harbour to Bundaberg. The name refers to the branchlets, which when young are flattened and more or less zigzagged...

Acacia concurrens (MIMOSACEAE) Black Wattle, Curracabah

Acacia concurrens (MIMOSACEAE) Black Wattle, Curracabah

Dense shrub or small tree to 8 m on sandy or stony soils in open forest. Found in understorey over most of South-East Queensland and surrounding regions including NSW. Will usually be smaller than 8 m and quite common in regrowth of disturbed coastal areas,...

Acacia disparrima (MIMOSACEAE) Hickory Wattle

Acacia disparrima (MIMOSACEAE) Hickory Wattle

Dense tree to 15 m. Mostly in coastal areas and fringes throughout Queensland and NSW. Branchlets slender with the uppermost few cm angled. Phyllodes somewhat curved, pale grey to blue green with numerous parallel veins, pointed tip. Greenish phyllode stalk...

Acacia falcata (MIMOSACEAE) Sickle-leaved Wattle

Acacia falcata (MIMOSACEAE) Sickle-leaved Wattle

Erect, tree-like shrub to 4 m throughout Queensland and NSW mostly in coastal areas. Curved (falcate) phyllodes with a prominent mid vein. Flowers are cream coloured ball-flowers in early winter. Unusual seed pods show the seeds very obviously....

Acacia fimbriata (MIMOSACEAE) Brisbane Wattle, Fringed Wattle

Acacia fimbriata (MIMOSACEAE) Brisbane Wattle, Fringed Wattle

Fast growing, profusely flowering wattle native to South-East Queensland and Northern NSW. Good screen plant, gap filler. Hardy in most situations. Usually a bushy shrub or small tree to 4-6 m high with attractive, weeping light green foliage. New growth is...

Acacia irrorata (MIMOSACEAE) Green Wattle, Blueskin

Acacia irrorata (MIMOSACEAE) Green Wattle, Blueskin

Small tree to 5-10 m in the warmer, humid areas in the coastal belt from South-East Queensland to southern New South Wales. Extends inland to the NSW tablelands. Grows on heavier soils. Best growth is in moist, well-drained, relatively fertile flats along...

Acacia maidenii (MIMOSACEAE) Maiden’s Wattle

Acacia maidenii (MIMOSACEAE) Maiden’s Wattle

A medium tree to 15 m on fertile, well-drained soils. Phyllodes are dark green, alternate to 18 cm. Creamy-yellowish flower spikes to 6 cm in summer and autumn. Host plant for many butterflies, including the Tailed Emperor Polyura sempronius and the Large...