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Strange Tree Next Door


#1

Our next door neighbour has a strange tree growing near our side fence which I have not seen anywhere else. The leaves look like the ones in photos I have seen of stinging nettles and the flowers or fruits look like immature mulberries.
It flowers or fruits all year round and the birds absolutely love it and are feeding in it every day. The many varieties of birds include Mistletoe Birds whose presence is given away by their piercing tweets. I had only seen Mistletoe Birds twice before we moved here 3 years ago but now we regularly hear and see them.
The seeds germinate very well as my wife moved some potted plants that were beneath the branches and the pots are now full of seedlings.
Does anyone know what this tree is called?


#2

My guess is a native rain-forest tree. There are several web sites that have picture galleries for identification purposes. Or ask your neighbour, they may know.


#3

Or take a cutting showing leaves, stem and flowers to a nursery (not Bunnings or Coles garden sections as they are unlikely to be botanists). A good nursery man/women should be able to identify it for you.

If you are travelling to Brisbane, one can also take it to the Queensland Herbarium at the Mt Coot-tha botantical gardens for identification. If you contact them, they might still have the mail in specimen service, where plant specimens can be posted to them and identified. There may be fees for this though.


#4

Or University or some museums.


#5

If the obvious fails two options:
All our local Queensland councils have staff who specialise in weed and pest management as well as landcare rehab. In our area they are helpful and if they don’t know may put you in contact with one of the community landcare groups. I participate with both in SE Qld and we often get enquiries such as yours. I don’t recognise the tree - but then I only know my locals.

http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/community-environment/natural-resource-management

The second option and service I have used is through the state govt herbarium who you can forward details to. If unclear they may ask for a physical sample.
Some good detail pics of the flowers and fruit or seed will help immensely.
Same phbriggs mentioned, only I was able to email them pics and that was enough.

https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/plants-animals/plants/herbarium/identify-specimens

There was no fee for this service when I last used it 18 months back.


#6

Thanks to all who have posted suggestions to my query.
A couple of years ago, I did ask the neighbours who said they are not into gardening, and as the tree was already well established when we bought our present home, and they bought theirs’ only 12 months prior, they could not have planted it.
It is next to their large backyard shed so it is unlikely anyone would have planted it there. I suspect that a bird dropped the seed there.
I suspect it is a rainforest plant. We have a branch of a creek behind us which is enclosed by rainforest on both sides and it continues up the hill where the trees join the rainforest covered slopes.
As the seeds do not germinate under the tree but did so after my wife moved the pots from under it out into the open, I suspect that it is a type of rainforest pioneer tree that grow in clearings and provide the necessary cover for the main rainforest plants to become established.
I will contact our local botanical gardens next week, and if they do not know, I will try JCU and your other recommendations.


#7

P.s. it resembles the brown kurrajong aka commersonia bartramia, however there are other similar trees to be sure.


#8

I reckon you have nailed it.
The images I have just looked at online are identical to the tree next door.
https://www.google.com.au/search?q=brown+kurrajong+aka+commersonia+bartramia&rlz=1C1SQJL_enAU794AU794&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRy5_M767cAhVMpZQKHV3kBx4QsAQIOQ&biw=1920&bih=947
Well done.


#9

Whilst the trunks, branches and leaves appear to be identical to the brown kurrajong, the flowers are different.
Some further online searching of Australian rainforest pioneer species has found the answer. It is the Native Mulberry (Pipturus argenteus).
The common name certainly matches my impression that the flowers look like juvenile mulberries, and the fact that it is actually a member of the nettle family confirmed my comment that the leaves looked like stinging nettles.
I have never seen any fruit on it as per the information on the website that I have posted the link to below, as the birds never allow any to develop.
They are available from nurseries which sell Australian native species, so if anyone wants a small tree that attracts birds all year round, this is a great choice.
https://somemagneticislandplants.com.au/index.php/11-botanical-names/959-native-mulberry


#10

That’s a great outcome. The flowers and fruit/seeds are most often the best way to distinguish between plants. Once you get to know a particular tree or species the image tends to stick in your head. I don’t have any of the native mulberry, however they are as you note great with the birds.