Hunter Valley Strangler, a New Species?

left hunter valley strangler right rubiginosa

This plant could easily be classified as a rubiginosa, it may be an individual but I’m guessing there are more of this plant around the Hunter Valley, Peats Ridge area. Hoping to get back to the Hunter in a month or two and look for more of this plant, see the ripe fruit and bribe Sara with some more wine!

This tree was growing near Kulnura on the right hand side of the road heading towards Jerry’s Gourmet Kitchen & Cafe, driving along George Downes Drive.

left hunter valley strangler right rubiginosa
1 Hunter Valley strangler, 2, rubiginosa

 

Strangler, rubiginosa like, multiple pairs of fruit at branch tip. Juvenile fruit has obvious bulbous like nipple,  bracts start at the top of the peduncle, one large bract wrapping around nearly the whole fruit, covering a smaller bract. The fruit has raised bumps, is slightly flat but not as flat as that of destruens.  Semi ripe is orange in colour, not sure of ripe colour. Ostiole stays raised in a nipple through fruit’s development, seems to remain closed. Penducle about 5+mm across, cupped a bit like a large obliqua, or a smaller version of crassipes.  Peduncle covered in short brown hairs.

 

hunter vallery strangler fruit
Hunter Vallery strangler fruit with spots, a large nipple, slightly flattened like a destruens fruit.

 

As the new leaf tip grows two fruit will develop under the leaf’s sheath. Pairs of fruit spikes will form in mature leaf axils, the fruit spikes look like smaller versions of those on platypoda, long narrow almost like spear heads.

Leaves are hairless, like large obliqua or smaller macrophylla leaves, blade up to about 15cm long, mid glossy green – darker than obliqua, above, dull lighter yellow green below, midrib yellow, slightly raised above and below, veins yellow slightly raised on upper surface, flat below.

 

hunter valley strangler leaf
Hunter Valley strangler leaf

 

rubiginosa leaf left hunter leaf right
Left: rubiginosa,  Right: Hunter Valley leaf ,  longer petiole of the Hunter Valley strangler. Rubiginosa is incredibly variable and the Hunter Valley plant could easily be labelled as just another variation.

 

 

hunter fruit illustration

 

Juvenille fruit 1. Major fruit bract, 2 peduncle, 3. fruit body, 4. nipple, 5. smaller bract that is covered by the major bract.