Article by Danielle Outram, conservation partnerships officer, Sunshine Coast Council
Now you mightn’t think that there’s a whole lot of romance going on with bush regeneration. It’s dirty, hot and sweaty work for the most part, but I’m going to ask you to dig a little deeper (pun intended) to discover some of our amazing native plants and their romantic associations.
Love flower (Pseuderanthemum variable)
These gorgeous herbs can be found on the forest floor of wet sclerophyll and rainforests. With their purple, pink and white flowers, one can be excused for daydreaming that their significant other might pick one for them. This species is a larval host plant for no less than five native butterflies including Australian leafwing, blue argus, danaid eggfly, common eggfly and the blue banded eggfly.
The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe started in ancient Greece during the festival of Saturnalia and later in marriage ceremonies, because of the plant’s association with fertility. During the Roman era, enemies at war would reconcile their differences under the mistletoe.
Australia has 97 species of mistletoe which are a hemi-parasite, relying on other host plants for water and nutritional needs. The next time you spot some mistletoe whilst weeding, plant a kiss on that special person in your life.
Candle vine (Pothos longipes)
Has it been a while since you’ve had a candlelit dinner? Me too, but I’m just as happy to see candle vine growing when I’m out in rainforest areas. The petiole is flattened giving the appearance of a leaf in the shape of a candlestick. This slender vine grows on tree trunks in rainforest and is considered a partial epiphyte.
Well there you have it, romance isn’t dead when it comes to native plants in the rainforest. Keep an eye out for these beauties on your next forest walk.