Schotia brachypetala at Gogango.
Schotia brachypetala at Gogango. Contributed

Flush of colour and noise

THE town of Mount Morgan has given much to our local community.

But when it comes to the plant world this town has provided one of the world's most popular tall shrubs - the Mount Morgan Wattle or Queensland Silver Wattle, Acacia podalyriifolia.

Many plants that we take for granted were first grown in Mount Morgan and at the moment one of these trees is making a real splash and colour.

Commonly known as the Parrot Tree, it was introduced to the region by a new school teacher to the town.

He planted one tree in the school grounds and from that one tree hundreds are now in bloom across the town.

Few trees could rightly be given this common name, but probably the tree is best known as the Schotia brachypetala.

This compact small evergreen tree grows to about 6m, with small glossy dark green leaves and a firm hard bark.

The Schotia is a very hardy tree and is variable in its rate of growth.

Some gardeners have found it fairly slow in the initial stages.

However, in rich soil it can reach the flowering stage in four years. For best results choose a sunny position where it can receive ample water.

The flowering period is from late September to early October and it is during this time that the reason for the Australian common name becomes apparent.

Great masses of red tubular flowers cover the length of most branches, giving a dazzling display of colour.

The flowers literally drip with honey nectar and are visited constantly by bees and early morning honey eaters.

As the day warms up great flocks of small lorikeets visit the tree, making a shrill din.

On occasions, drunk with the fermenting nectar, they stagger around beneath the tree in a daze.


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