Mulga country at Charleville.
Charleville heart of the Mulga Country.
Charleville has a little less rain than Adelaide, about 500 mm a year between November and March, the hot summer months. Evaporation rates are therefore high but the area often has great deluges and it is also prone to regular floods. It is not that unusual for Charleville to have 200 mms of rain (8 inches) in just one of the summer months! In January the average temperature is almost 35 degrees (for Adelaide the January average is 29 degrees.) This means the January temperatures range from a low of 30 degrees to a high of 38 degrees. This is not desert country as it has reasonable rainfall but it has to have plants that can endure heat and drought and flood. (Water is always plentiful in this region from the Great Artesian Basin.) The Mulga is the best plant for this region. The actual vegetation around Charleville varies with the soils. Mulga country is interspersed with Mitchell Grasslands. The grass lands make it a good pastoral district. But what comprises the scrubby Mulga country? Several plants dominate apart from the Mulga itself which is botanically a wattle, Acacia aneura. The other main plants in Mulga country are: Poplar Box- Eucalyptus populnea, Wilga – Geijera parviflora, Gidyea – Acacia cambagei, Cypress Pine – Callistris glaucaphylla, Corkwood – Hakea lorea, Beefwood – Grevillea striata, Spinifex grass, Ironwood – Casuarina equisetifolia and Long Fruited Bloodwood – Corymbia polycarpa. The botanical names are not important but it is interesting to note the variety of plants which make up Mulga country- wattle, eucalyptus, casuarina, hakea, grevillea, callistris etc. It is also fascinating to ponder the fact that the water taken up from the Great Artesian Basin is two million years old by the time it comes to the surface! This aquifer can continue to supply water for millennia to come. In the early days the pastoralists grazed sheep in the Mulga country but they switched to beef cattle later as cattle are hardier, bigger and cope with the environment better. You can have a go at identifying some of the Mulga Country plants in the Graham Andrews Park tree walk of Charleville.