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.

11 comments:

Neil said...

What a beautiful and delicate flower love the colour.

Tyto Tony said...

Beauty!

Snail said...

It is gorgeous. I haven't seen the paddies eat the berries, which makes it one of a rare few!

mick said...

Beautiful colors. I thought bright colors were supposed to attract the birds and animals.

Snail said...

I think they do, but the birds are a bit spoiled for choice here at the moment.

I collected some berries earlier and offered them to the pademelons, who just stared at me as if I'd gone nuts. The bush turkeys, on the other hand, snapped them up straight away. I'm not sure this is a really useful test, though, because the turkeys also tried to eat my woollen jumper.

desertnutmeg said...

Hence the expression "you turkey!"
Gosh you make me LOL!
Beautiful flower and even more gorgeous color on those berries!

Snail said...

The turkeys and I are going to have to come to an arrangement!

I'm noticing lots of interesting fruit here (most of which I can't identify!) but they're not quite as obvious as these.

desertnutmeg said...

With interesting fruit, do you have a lot of bats at your place? Last year i had more than i have in the 3 years i've been at this rental house. I loved it!

Snail said...

Flying foxes (fruit bats) visit when the bigger fruit (usually Burdekin plum and quandongs) are available. They come in from a huge roost a few kilometres from here, feed, squabble and then go home. Nothing worth their while is fruiting at the moment, so I see them fly overhead at dusk, looking for something tasty.

There are insect-eating microbats, but I'm not sure what sort. They zip through the garden just on dusk. Several neighbours have (minor) problems with microbats roosting in their houses, but the bats don't stop at my place. I think it's because the eaves are so narrow. Am thinking of putting up some shade cloth in the carport, so they can use that at a spot to hang out (literally) by day.

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