Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eremophila in the bush

In the wild, Eremophila are found in all mainland states and Northern Territory, with the largest number of species located in Western Australia. Eremophila often grow in impoverished sites. In general they are tolerant of harsh conditions including drought, fire, frost, flooding and grazing - hence one of its common names 'Poverty Bush' is apt.

As Eremophila are predominately dry country flora, I have the opportunity to search for them in the Pilliga Forests of northwestern NSW where I spend a lot of time involved in nature study.

Eremophila are diverse in habit ranging from prostrate ground-covers, to shrubs small and large, to small trees.

75% of Eremophila flowers are pollinated by insects, while the remainder are pollinated by birds. Seed capsules are usually large, round or oval in shape, with a very hard tough exterior.

Eremophila longifolia - Weeping Emu Bush

Eremophila longifolia - Pilliga Forests NW NSW

Unripe seed capsules of Eremophila longifolia - (Weeping Emu Bush)

Eremophila maculata  (Spotted Emu Bush)  Macquarie Marshes NW NSW

Eremophila maculata (Spotted Emu Bush) - Macquarie Marshes

Eremophila debilis (Winter Apple) seed capsules (prostrate habit)

Eremophila mitchellii (False Sandalwood) - Baradine

Sepals of E. mitchellii stay on plant for a long time
There are 7 flower shapes which help to identify Eremophila species, and in a future blog I will post up drawings of these flower types with descriptions and information.

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