If your blue pen lid is missing, blame the satin bowerbird.
- Satin bowerbirds are a species of bird, native to the eastern states of Australia, and they are typically found in forest habitats, especially wet or rainforest areas.
- The scientific name of the satin bowerbird is Ptilonorhynchus violaceus and it is from the family Ptilonorhynchidae, the family of bowerbirds.
- The plumage of a mature seven year old male satin bowerbird is a deep blue-black colour, while females and younger males have a colour combination of olive-green and brown, patterned with cream.
- Satin bowerbirds generally reach a height of 27 to 33 centimetres (10.6 to 13 inches), and their diet consists primarily of fruit, and they also eat seeds, leaves and insects.
- A male satin bowerbird constructs a display structure, known as a ‘bower’, that it builds with sticks on the ground, and it has two sides facing each other with a pathway through the middle, and while it is often thought of as a nest, it is never used for this purpose.
- Male satin bowerbirds often ‘paint’ the inside of their bower, often with a mix of saliva and plant material; and they are notable for collecting objects, generally of a blue colour, though yellow or metallic coloured objects may also be gathered, to place in and around their bower as decoration.
- The satin bowerbird male attracts a female partner through its bower and colourful objects, as well as a special ‘dance’ it performs, and younger females are more attracted to bower aesthetics, while older females favour a better dance performance when determining their mate.
- A female satin bowerbird typically lays one to three eggs each year, of a brown to cream colour with dark markings, in a nest that it builds in trees; and the eggs and young are cared for by the female.
- Satin bowerbirds have blue eyes, and the mature males have a creamy yellow to green coloured beak, while the females have a dark coloured one.
- Satin bowerbirds can imitate the calls of other birds, and they also make sounds that resemble hisses, whistles, and buzzes.
Your Aussie bush tucker will surely include an Australian finger lime.
- Australian finger limes are a species of citrus fruit that are native to rainforests of the central eastern coast of Australia.
- The scientific name of the Australian finger lime is Citrus australasica and it is from the family Rutaceae, the family of citrus.
- Australian finger limes are long and cylinder-like in nature, reaching 3 to 12 centimetres (1.2 to 4.7 inches) in length and they generally have a diameter of 1 to 3 centimetres (0.4 to 1.2 inches).
- The skin colour of Australian finger limes can be yellow, pink, red, purple, or green, and the fruit may have no seeds at all, or they may have many.
- With numerous individual globules, the flesh of Australian finger limes resembles caviar, and it is a translucent red, green, pink or yellow colour.
- Australian finger limes have quite flavourful juices, particularly tangy, especially when the pulp itself is chewed.
- Australian finger limes have become more popular in recent times for culinary use – on the rise since the late 1900s, especially in the restaurant industry.
- Generally, Australian finger limes are used to flavour a dish, both as a garnish or with its juice, and they can be used to to make marmalade, sauces, and condiments, while the skin is also useful as a flavouring.
- The thorny plant that Australian finger limes grow on can range from a shrub to a small tree, reaching 2 to 7 metres (6.6 to 23 feet) in height.
- Australian finger limes were traditionally a form of bush tucker, and they are now cultivated for the food industry and export markets.
Citrus Australasica, 2007, Australian Native Plants Society (Australia), http://anpsa.org.au/c-aust.html
Cruiser butterflies sport a variety of different colours.
- Cruiser butterflies are a species of butterfly native to the tropics of New Guinea and surrounding islands, and parts of Queensland in Australia.
- The scientific name of a cruiser butterfly is Vindula arsinoe and it is from the family Nymphalidae, the family of brush-footed butterflies.
- The wings of a male cruiser butterfly are mostly an orange colour, decorated with black patterns including a couple of eye spots.
- Cruiser butterflies have a wingspan that generally ranges from 7.5 to 8.2 centimetres (3 to 3.2 inches) in length.
- A female cruiser butterfly has a combination of yellow/orange, brown, black and white coloured wings, and despite its difference in appearance to the male, it has similar black markings.
- Cruiser butterfly caterpillars are black and yellow to white in colour, and they have black branch like spikes down the back and sides of their body.
- The chrysalis of a cruiser butterfly reaches a length of 3 centimetres (1.2 inches), and is coloured brown to green, while the caterpillar itself is a centimetre (0.4 inches) longer.
- Cruiser butterfly larvae feed primarily from the species of the passion flower family, while the butterflies feed on nectar from various flowers.
- Cruiser butterflies have a habit of congregating around collections of moist to wet soil, where they obtain nutrients from the liquid they consume there, and this phenomenon is known as ‘mud-puddling’.
- The eggs of a female cruiser butterfly varies from a white to brown colour, with many small bumps on the exterior, and they are about 1.5 millimetres (0.06 inches) in height.
Giant moss appears to be a typical plant, but it bears no flowers or seeds.
- Giant moss is a species of tall moss native to eastern areas of Australia, and also New Zealand and New Guinea.
- ‘Giant moss’ is also known as ‘tall Dawsonia’, and as a moss plant, it is ‘non-vascular’, in that it does not have ducts that hold or transport fluid.
- The scientific name of giant moss is Dawsonia superba and it is from the family Polytrichaceae, the family of Aloe moss.
- Each erect spike or stem of giant moss is an individual plant, and the leaves are small and a green to grey-green colour.
- Giant moss is found in clay soils of humid forest habitats, including rainforests.
- Reaching up to 60 centimetres (2 feet) in height, giant moss is the tallest known extant moss on earth.
- Full shade, in dry to moist soils, is the best condition for growing giant moss, and it is able to be grown in pots.
- Extremely small spores that are six to ten micrometres (each micrometre measuring 0.001 of a millimetre) in diameter, making them some of the smallest spores of any moss plants, are produced by giant moss.
- Giant moss produce capsules, that have hairs on the exterior, that sit above the leaves; and the capsule contains spores that are used by the plant to reproduce.
- Raindrops falling onto giant moss collect the plant’s spores and disperses them for reproduction, on the forest floor.
Bidgee widgees certainly like to stick to you.
- Bidgee widgees are a species of perennial, flowering plant, native to regions of Australia and New Zealand.
- ‘Bidgee widgees’ are also known as ‘biddy-biddy’, ‘bidi-bidi’, ‘piri-piri-bur’ or, in the native New Zealand language, Maori, ‘piripiri’.
- The scientific name of a bidgee widgee is Acaena novae-zelandiae and it is from the family Rosaceae, the family of roses.
- Bidgee widgees have been introduced into the United States and the United Kingdom, where they are now established and considered a weed in some areas.
- The bidgee widgee plant grows to approximately 10 centimetres (4 inches) in height, with a one metre (39 inches) diameter, and is notable for spreading across the ground.
- Full sun or partial shade is the best growing conditions for bidgee widgees, and they prefer moist soil conditions.
- The tiny, white to green coloured flowers of bidgee widgees, typically form in the spring and summer months in ball shape clusters, that grow above the leaves of the plant on thin stalks.
- Bidgee widgees are commonly utilised in landscaping as a ground cover, for decorative purposes.
- Bidgee widgee flowers develop into spherical burrs that begin with protruding pink to red spikes that change to a brown colour once mature, that are in fact individual seeds that are grouped together to make the spherical shape.
- If brushed against, bidgee widgee seeds or burrs can cling onto substances, such as animal fur or clothing, due to the spiny hooks they possess, which aids their dispersal.
Evodia provides the double whammy – both the wood and the flowers.
- An evodia is an evergreen flowering tree that can grow to a medium size, and is native to Australia and New Guinea.
- ‘Evodia’ is also known as ‘pink flowered doughwood’, ‘eudia’, ‘doughwood’ and ‘corkwood’.
- The scientific name of evodias is Melicope elleryana and it is from the family Rutaceae, the family of citrus.
- Evodias reach heights of around five to six metres (16 to 20 feet) when cultivated and up to 25 metres (82 feet) in the wild.
- The small tubular flowers of evodias grow in clusters along the branches of the tree, and are of a pink colour with long stamens.
- Evodias bloom throughout the warmer months of December to March, and the flowers are very attractive to birds, especially lorikeets, as well as butterflies, for the nectar they produce.
- Evodias are found in forest habitats particularly in rainforest areas, and they are often home to Ulysses butterfly larvae.
- The trunk of evodias tends to have a layer of cork-like bark; and the trees can be used as a source of timber, and they are often grown for ornamental purposes.
- Australian-German Ferdinand von Mueller, a botanist, was the first to scientifically classify evodias and initially named the tree Euodia elleryana in 1865.
- After flowering, small fruits of an ovoid shape develop, that change from green to a black, brown or grey colour when ripe, that then split open to each release a small, black shiny seed, that birds also like to feed on.