This week in the rainforest.
Tue 16 Feb
By Hans Van Veluwen
We are very grateful this week to Hans Van Veluwen for his wildlife report. Hans is a regular contributor to Newsport and we always look forward to all the latest news, developments and fantastic photographs from his treks and expeditions in and around the far north. we hope you enjoy them too.
This week he tells us that just coming into flower now is the Callophylum tree (Callophylum inophyllum). Now this is a fascinating tree, sometimes referred to as the "Ball Nut Tree", a medium to large tree with trunks growing to enormous proportions which graces most of our foreshore forests.
An important buffer zone plant that stabilizes the high tide beach zones against erosion caused by seasonal king tides and Cyclonic surges. The fragrant clusters of white and yellow flowers aren't large but very prolific on the tree. The fruits are about golf ball in size and almost perfectly round, even without the surrounding green flesh.
Fruit bats love the blossoms and the fruits.The timber is an excellent cabinet timber and is used by the Pacific Islanders to build strong keels for their boats. Once dried the nuts yield an oil that is suitable for bio fuel and the oil is believed to regenerate tissue, so is sought after by cosmetics manufacturers as an ingredient in skin creams.
The trees often form dense forests along the northern coast lines and because of their heavily fissured bark make perfect host trees for epiphytic ferns and orchids. A good example of these forests can be found at Wonga Beach, north of Port Douglas where the locals have an annual Wonga Nut festival held every July at the Wonga Beach Van Park when the tree drops copious amounts of it's fruits. The festival is based on what you can do with the nuts in the way of art objects and also used in all sorts of creative games...quite entertaining.
And, another small tree in fruit at the moment is the Guava tree( Psidium guajava ). An introduced species that can be found growing along many of the ex Douglas Shires roads. A small spreading tree with shiny mottled bark and prolific yellow coloured fruits. These fruits are delicious and those locals in the know can be seen out and about gathering them.
Guava fruit is rich in vitamins A and C, the seeds contain Omega oils and also rich in dietary fiber,with four times the amount of vitamin C then an orange. It's just another one of natures gifts that only occur in the Gondwana Green Dreaming Season from Jan. 30Th till May 30Th...the people that visit here mid year simply miss out.
About Hans Van Veluwen
Hans Van Veluwen is a Wilderness Guide who has been conducting trekking expeditions and Guided Tours/ Safaris in Far North Queensland for 31 years. A horticulturist who found out 30 years ago that it was a lot easier talking about plants for a living than physically growing them. He is Queensland's leading Stereophotographer, who has published 3D books about this wonderful part of the world.
Nowadays freelancing for various reputable tour companies as well as offering private guiding services to those people that want to know all about the ecology and history of the area, presented in a way people can understand and appreciate. He specialises in Rainforest Ecology Interpretation tours and also conducts photography tours for those people that want more than a normal scheduled trip.
For more details visit www.C3D.net.au