Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Other Flora of the Bunya Mountains

On the second day in the Bunya Mountains we went for a really long walk--about four hours in total--along the tracks in the National Park:

Somewhere along the way I read a sign that spoke about the different kinds of forest in the Bunya Mountains.  And so it did keep changing as we went along.  When we started out the ground was covered in these ferns:

One of the friends I went with to the Bunyas had a keen eye for the surroundings.  He pointed out this twisted trunk, describing it as reptilian:

As one might expect, there were a lot of staghorns in the forest.  Some were perched up in trees, while others were not quite so firm in their grip: 

I'm not sure that these mobile photographs have managed to capture the full glory of the colours of the various lichens and fungi we encountered on the trees in the forest, living and otherwise.  This fungus was a series of rainbows in orange, cream, and brown:

There truly were some glorious, yet delicate shapes too:  

This fungi reminded me very much of the dried wood fungus I sometimes use in Asian recipes, after it's been reconstituted.  Given that they were growing on a tree, I don't think my supposition was too outlandish--still, I wasn't going to risk it:

Here are some more instances of the different kinds of forest that we came across, all within quite short distances of one another.  What was extraordinary was how isolated these spots of completely different foliage were.  For only a short distance, in a gully, there was a copse of these large-leaved elephant-ear plants: 

Then there were these grassy patches amidst the various types of forests which were called 'balds'.  Apparently these are indicative of a much colder climate once upon a time.  Again signs explained that the local Aboriginal people had once managed these areas, control burning them to stop the forest encroaching.  Now, of course, the forest is slowly invading these grasslands:

This photo was taken the day before, but it seemed to me that this vegetation was quite similar to that in those areas that led into the balds: 

It was in this kind of forest that  we came across another copse of trees the next day, this time grass trees, a sprinkling of them just in one spot:  

And finally, I thought I'd show you this, because it was a pretty spectacular sight to come across.  It made me think about when the tree fell; I'm glad I wasn't around for any kind of Judy moment.  But the sight of that broken trunk lying there also made me think that it would soon be covered with fungi, delicate and fecund, of the kind we had seen along our walk.  Soon it would disintegrate back into the forest to nourish the ground where once it had flourished.

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