Monday, 22 March 2010
Velvet leaf (Callicarpa pedunculata)
The berries of this native shrub are supposed to attract birds, but the birds around here are so stuffed full of Millaa Millaa vine (Elaeagnus triflora) and other fruits that they give the velvet leaf a miss. Like Millaa Millaa vine it is an edge species, taking advantage of the sunlight beyond the canopy. At this time of year, the small purple berries shine like jewels among a tangle of leaves.
Velvet leaf was one of the plant species collected in North Queensland during the voyage of HMS Endeavour. You can see the original illustration at the Natural History Museum's site.