I've been a very infrequent poster this last year - study has kept me pretty busy, even too busy to breed peas - Shit! Anyway, here's what's been keeping me mostly out of my garden - and gardening forums. I wrote this article for The Conversation a couple of weeks ago - parasitic plants are absolutely intriguing! Exocarpos article
You're in good company, Steev, Jacques Labillardiere thought so too...he wrote "“I discovered an evergreen tree, which has its nut situated, like that of the acajou [English=cashew], upon a fleshy receptacle much larger than itself. I therefore named this new genus Exocarpos…The principal characters of this plant have led me to rank it among the terebinthinaceous [turpentine-like] tribe, next to the anacardium [cashew]. I have given it the name of Exocarpos cupressiformis.”(Labillardiere, 1800 ‘Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de la Pérouse...wasn't it nice of him to write that passage in English for us non-Francophones )
gotta love "terebinthinaceous", I must pull that one out next time someone offers me an expensive red wine... T
nice article, Templeton; The seed picture reminds me of the "fruit" structure of the NZ totara, rimu, podocarp / Dacrycarpus group, and yes, those are a very small tasty morsel to nibble on (diameter up to 3mm); curious on the fruit size, didn't notice a scale / reference object in the pix. NZ trees possibly relying on fungal root associations for survival rather than being hemiparasitic. Cheers, W
Thanks Walnuttr, The podocarps are off in a totally different bit of the plant world, they're southern pines, so gymnosperms.
Andrew, I could get you some seeds, but no one can get it germinate. Two days ago I fed it to chickens - an alleged germination trigger - and nothing came out the other end - I reckon the gizzard grinding action destroyed the seed. I currently have a call out for captive native birds to free feed the remaining seed to, but no responses so far - there are very stringent regs regarding the keeping of native birds in Australia. We have dodder in my local forests too, lots of mistletoes - but different to your northern ones, and some other root parasites in Santalales. We don't have the annual crop root parasites that are the scourge of Africa. Most of our root parasites are long-lived - think sandalwood, which probably makes their ecology quite different to northern ecosystems. T
I'm going to do a controlled mesocosm experiment - the fleshy 'fruit' suggests consumption, either as a germination trigger or a transport mechanism - whether it is an obligate trigger or not is interesting. It seems to root sucker after fire, so I'm going to go with smoke water as a germ aid, and seed nicking. My 3 X 2 matrix is going to be 1 Ferment, 2 Scarify, 3 Control X
1 Smoke water, 2 no smoke water.
At the end of the Millennium Drought we had 2 very wet La Nina years, and then got seedlings in the forest, so I'm thinking of giving all these trials a very good watering. I was going to sow into replicate trays and shallowly bury the trays in the forest, but a native nurserywoman has suggested that ants and mice might predate the seed... Should have thought this all through before the fruiting season T