By ESTELLE THOMSON.
Queensland Morning Glory
THROUGH most of the summer
months the Queensland morn- ing glory spreads a gracious mantle over many an unsightly dead tree or clump of accumulated drift- wood on our creek banks. That the trees might have been alive but for the suffocating embrace of the vine does not detract from the beauty of the result. At the point where the Ipswich road crosses Oxley Creek the banks are draped with its green and lilac brocade.
"Queensland morning-glory" (Ipomoea palmata),—Flowers pink
The plant is a twiner, the young shoots growing upwards, and swaying in the breeze until they come in con- tact with something round which to twine. Should the young upright stem meet with no support, its own weight bends it over, and it becomes pendu- lous, growing as happily upside down as right way up, until finally it twines round some of its own branches in an inextricably tangled mat.
The leaves are a particularly beauti- ful bright green, and a most elegant
shape, with spreading pointed leaflets, the specific name "palmata" referring to their fan-like arrangement.
The showy tubular flowers are the typical "morning-glory" shape, and vary in colour from pale pink through lilac to deep rosy purple, or they may be white. The strongly marked angles of the corolla tube hold the ruffled edges out as if they had been wired. In the bud the flowers are folded in the beautiful shell-like spiral, char- acteristic of the Convolvulus family, to which the Ipomoeas belong.
Other well-known members of this family are the blue and the purple morning glories of our gardens, as well as the white moon flower; the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), the tiny pink convolvulus of the bush; the great sprawling goat's foot convol- ulus of the seashore; and the twining leafless parasitic dodder of the Eng- lish fields and hedges.
The fragile evanescent flowers of the morning glory fade as soon as they are picked, but if the beautiful leafy trails are placed in water (for preference, on a high shelf, so that the stems can droop), buds will con- tinue to open for several days.
"Cork Tree," "Bat's Wing "
AMONG the varied pale greens and
rosy tips of the eucalypt forest that clothes the lower slopes of Tam- borine Mountain one sees a sudden flash of vivid scarlet. "Stop, oh, stop. What was that? How lovely." "No room to stop here; wait till we come to a wide part of the road," replies the driver, with no emotion whatever, and the car rushes on past other dis- tant flashes of scarlet glimpsed through the lattice of trunks. At last —there stands one close to the road; the car is indulgently parked where a wide spot conveniently occurs, and the flash of flame colour turns out to be a young cork tree or bat's wing, Erythrina vespertilio, and sister to the magnificent "coral tree," Erythrina indica.
"Cork-tree," "Bat's wing" (Ery- thrina vespertilio).—Flowers flame
The specific name, vespertilio (from the name of a group of small bats), refers to the shape of the leaves, or rather that of the three leaflets which compose the compound leaf. The leaf- stalk or petiole is very long, and the two paired leaflets are set about mid- way between the base and the tip where the terminal leaflet is set. At the time of flowering they are a pale and tender green, and flutter and twirl on the long petioles with the slightest breeze.
The flowers are carried in upright racemes at the end of the branchlets. The Erythrinas are members of the Pea family or Leguminosae, and form the genus next in order to the Ken- nedya or red bean. The flower is al- most entirely made up of the standard petal; the wing and keel petals being very small, and clasping the united base of the bundle of stamens. This divides half-way, leaving the filaments free, with the hooked style in their midst.
The colour, like that of many red flowers, does not appear nearly so bright in the hand as when it is flaunted proudly in the sunshine in sharp contrast with the blue sky and bright green leaves.
The smaller branches, and some- times the petioles, are set with vicious prickles, but the trunk and main branches have a smooth corky bark hence the name, "cork-tree."