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2 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

ON SOME OF THE INTRODUCED PLANTS OF QUEENSLAND.

Bv F. M. I3aii.es-, F.L..S., Cor. Hif U.S., Tah., *c, &c. : (From Hit- OiirrmUint AQrirnltttritl.)

One would not eauily suppose that the com mon prickly pear (Oplunia vvlgafis, Mill) would become a troublesome weed, or make much progress ; yet it has spread widely n'ld rapidly in Queensland ; and in Sew South Wales, especially along th». Upper Huut-r, its snrcad is rcallv formidable. It occupies

large patches of Borae of tlie best lands, A: id no good meaus have yet been devised to eradicate it. Its fruits are eaten by mai.y animals, and in that vay tho seeds become carried about. It in a purely American pliti't, and, whero it becomes sproad into laifjc patches, forhis to strikiuK contrast Vf- thu Aiih tralian vegetation. The ulimato nnd ft. 'il aeeni favorable to the genuB, ami there inc two other species natnralincd in Austral. a, Among the Solanew wnhtkvo a .goodly nu'ii bcrof naturalized plants. The comtnou thorn apple (Datum stramonium, Linn.) has become r groat nuisance in all tha colonies of1 Aus tralia, but more in Queensland than ol'o- wlicrc. It has been thought to have caurud tho doath nf stock now and aniiu, but I 'irmpine such instunoep mint be rira, us it is (seldom i-atun l-y fli»:k. 'l'hj harm 't linciK is tliu room wliinh it t^ikcs ??:(-. wliivh WOJlil i' »i'»t ci'-i:i l)e otluirwiao --u- cupicd by good yrass. Thrticjintifttl Suliinum toaomuum, Unu., apple of Sodom; or devil's

apptJW^afeiBgo-colored fruitsj is a very' comhion object in our forest /flpJrPjnfv It in- &lga*imet wtk att/lames in t!-& stpului^r e«ttfW-ip«o«e?ainiformer s}tus-' tion, JtArpUcnimagiB&i tliA there ariwd apecieiM M»fc'l)UnV becauaV jif ! thn paldH»v varie^atlu tiuti ofjhe-' fruit;, but this OjiftV-i ence 14 doe to some bnf^roroWe droumJMnae ' in its growth. The spetrioi il indigenMk* to the ehoresj of the MedfteiTffbean, and wfcil lirat gro«m here as ? garden \plant Ipats, over theamalier species ot the order, such as tlie bittersweet, *sd whioh *re found evaqh where near oultivated grouefl. Itisfttbipt «toni«hi(tg that «o very to* of &-\S*&, order Legominoaffl have become otlftHUsW amongst us. W« have Cassia UevioffaVf la- denow, which has eaoaped from ouyMsrdento 'I'hie caasoarcoly be looked upon askjroublt some weed, but rather an. ^ehwyi shrub. This is uot the case wttl another member of tbe same fti ' order, Caesalpinia eepiaria, Eoxb., ykii'.. bas quite overrun some of the rivfir an creek sorube, making them quite fapeu. ' trable. It was originally introdM»afro Tadia for tlie purpose of planting foVhedgef lean hardly understand how it oaa *nsw«i', as its wonderful rambling habit seeJBI to .«n to jimke it quite unlit .for, such purpoae. O our cultivated 'fodder plants we have mot naturalized. This is a curious fact, einc lucerne and clover thrive well, and produc good crops, and the seeds most to a4ettai|- extent be spread about by the animals tha : feed upon them. Tbe only altiejl plant ? met with at large and common throughout tbe colony are the email-flowered Mellilo (Iftlilotu* parviflora. Deaf.) and Aledie&,-j , ' denlicuhta, WiUd. The later is sprea ! throughout all the colonies, and goes by the name of yellow clover or native clover It is considered a real pest in tbe wool-growing districts. The pod curls round into a disk set with small hooked spines, making it an abundant and formidable burr, almost as bad f.ir tbe fleece as the celebrated weed which takes its n.une from Bathurst. Of other vet chea we have CiVia taliva, t-ino., and Vi hirmta, Koch., which, though common a ganlen weeds, have not spread much into tbe pasture. The large yellow poppy-like flower, with prickly grey Rreiso loaves, almost like a thistle (ArijeniMw nuxicana, Tourofort), is fast spreading over the colony. It is quite as bad as the thistle on tbe banks of the Hunter ftiver in New South Wales. There it chooses rich grounds near creeks and rivers, while in Queensland it prefers a sandy soil, or about tbe vicinity of wells, where it must bo acknowledged it adds a beauty to the scenery. It nas a yellowish milky juice, which is poison. The Spaniards call it Figo del inferno, or figs of hell, because of the deadly narcotic effect of the seeds, which are said to be more power ful than opium. The order Crucifera; con tains a large number of weedy plants, but frw of them are naturalised in Queensland. 1 don't remember to have seen more than two— the little garden weed known as water cress {Sentbiera dMyma, Pare.), and the well known watercress (Natturtm-m ojfichuilu, B. ' Brown), which has become naturalised in many of the streams of tbe main range. T am sorry I cannot isive the name of the public benefactor who introduced this whole some and useful plant into our Queenslacd streams ; but I may take the opportunity of, stating that it was introduced into the SouBT Australian watercourses in about 1842 by Mrs. S. Davenport, a lady wlm t' -U great iutocest ia horticulture, and tn whom that qolony is indebted (or the introduction of many useful plants. Of the order Malvacaj, several genera which are common are re garded as introduced, but they are all in digenous to Australia, with tbe exception of Malm rotundifolia. Linn. But those which arc veiy troublesome as weeds have been brought from one part of the colony to the other. I need liarAly refer to the well-known p.nt, S'l'.h rhomhifolia. Linn., or perhaps better known as Suia relumi, which has now found its way very extensively into the southern colonies. It is not a foreigner, however, being indigenous to Northern Aus tralia. Wo know nothing of the hioloTJ- pf its fcprcad, which in unaccountably rapid and formidable. Why it should have existed all tbe years it did in North Australia, Without spreading, and then b- come trooping all over the iaud, must remain an unsolved problem. A beautiful aud tough fibre can be prepare'! from the bark, eo it may bu useful one day. The pretty little garden weed, 4Cni-hurbia peplu*, Uun., bas made ar.ver.-il attempts to establish itself here as a garden weed, but without success. But a more pre tentions member of the same order has not found auy difficulty in spreading all over the country. This is fficmtu commnnit, Lion., or the castor-oil plant. It has a large num ber nf varieties. Some are really superb, nntehly those which grow along the aide of the South-Western railway on the main range between Krisbwe and Toowoomba. The common. European nettle, Urtica urent, Linn., has obtained a firm footing, aud baa been falsely accused of poisoning sheep and cattle. This undeserved slander it has had to bear in common with many a harmless plant iu Queensland. It is very common for the istockowuers, when they lose any of their sheep or cattle by disease, drought, climate, or other causes, to visit the misfortune ou the innocent beads of some of the most use ful plants which help to feed them. L» biat.-L', the common horehound (MamiHuM ??idijart. Linn.) is naturalised here, as it in in all Australia, but it is never found far away from stockyards and such places. By some of the graziers it is considered very beneficial, to sheep. The water panmip (Sium tali folium. Linn.) is regarded as an introduced p'.tnt by Messrs. Bunthaiu and Mueller in the ' Flora Australiensis.' It is so very abundant iu the swampB and watercourses of the main raugu, aud lias evidently sBob a place iu the vegetation that I very much (Jouiit if it be not a native. I well remember seeing it in the very earliest days of tbe colony of South Australia, where in the creeks of the Mount Lofty Ranees it was. ap parently an indigenous plant. The following six plants are known as escapes, and never found farfromcultivatiuii: —I/iotim parpurta, Uoth. , Fieus pum'ila, Linu. (the oommon climbingjig-of gardens; Sorghum lialei-aue,: Pers. ; Pontederiu cordala, Linn, (found a few years back in a waterhole near Brisbane); Cuscuta cwropea, Linn, (oommon dodderer looorne in cultivation); and the pretty scarlet Silvia coccinea. Linn., or small red esge. It is somewhat doubtful whether the following thirteen may not really be in- digenous : —Silene gallica, Linn., or French catchfly ; Stellaria media, Linn.; Xanthium   spinosum, Linn., or Bathurst burr ; Bidens pilosa Linn., or cobbler's pegs ; Galinsoga parviflora, Cav. ; Tagetes glandulifera,

Schranck ; Physalis peruviana, Linn., or Cape gooseberry ; Rumex acetosella, Linn.', or; sheep's sorrel ; Chenopodium ambrosoides, Linn. - Sisyrinchium micranthum, Cav. ; Cynodon dactylon, Pers., or common couch grass ; Holcus lanatus, Linn., or meadow soft grass; Lipocarpha argentea, R. Brown.   The last is a beautiful sedge, and has only been gathered ia one locality by myself. Benthani, in the 'Flora Austnliensis, (vel: vii., p. 337) eeems to, doubt its being in' digenous. As far as «uy observations go, am oouvinoed tbat it it not introduced, but ia as purely indigenous here as any other of its habitats. With roganl to the grasses, it ia difficult to say whioh arc und which are not introduced iu every case, but I think- wb may safely eay tbat Lvlium ttmulentUm, Iiinn., or drunken darnel 1 Ceraloehtoa nnioloides, I)e -Gandollo, or prairio grass j Poo, annua, Linn. , or annual meadow grass ; aud l'anicum maximum, Liou., or guine* Sims, are not uativoB of Queensland. Tbese Tow notes aro far from complete, *s I 'have' jot toil thorn down from memory, It twill tloubtluss be n umtter of surprise that, in e. onion) liUo QuceiiiiUud, whoi-a so muoh oul tivation in uurried on, and in snob an exten* aivo range of plantH, niniu than the Above are uot uuturuliseu ani'm^st us. .

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