ON THE ROAD — Eremophila splendens casts a sharp shadow on the red sands at midday. Photographed at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens Port Augusta.
The Swamp Bloodwood (Eucalyptus ptychocarpa) flowers during the wet season, literally bursting into flower as the caps are pushed off the seed capsules and the brilliant blossoms that range from a deep hot pink to dark crimson emerge. The tree grows to 12m with a spreading crown and is associated with permanent freshwater springs and stream in both lowland and escarpment country. Indigenous artist George Garrawun told me that the best black colour used for painting on bark is made from the charcoal of E. ptychocarpa. The charcoal is gathered in lumps and then rubbed on a stone palette as water is added.
With the first storms of the wet season the bulbs of the Onion Lily (Crinum asiaticum) burst into life across the Top End of the Northern Territory. Soon its white blooms dot the fringes of creeks and swamps. These photos of the lilies, and Midjakurr the bush dog, were taken by Jan Cooke.
The Fish-Tail Palm (Caryotis mitis) is a native of SE Asia and India and I photographed these cascades of inflorescence in Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak. The small flowers attract huge numbers of native stingless bees. In the Northern Territory I think the plant has the potential to become a weed in the Western Arnhem Plateau where it would love the moist ravines.