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Xanthorrhoea australis (grass trees) in flower

Grass trees (Xanthorrhoea australis) flowering in the Brisbane Ranges, October 2006. Ten months earlier, the National Park was in flames. Although nearby homes were destroyed in January 2006, no human lives were lost in the week-long bushfire.

 

The short-term effects of bushfire can appear severe, but occasional fire is part of the normal reproductive cycle for many Australian flora species.

 

The Brisbane Ranges National Park is home to 619 plant species, around one-fifth of Victoria's native flora including some particularly rare wildflowers, and more than 180 bird species.

 

The slow-growing Xanthorrhoea are susceptible to epidemic dieback disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi, or cinnamon fungus, but have been shown to regenerate rapidly from seed (PDF 640 kb).

 

The Wotjobaluk, Wathaurung and Gunai/Kurnai people of Victoria used Xanthorrhoea for food, drink, fibre and making implements.

 

This photo was published on 1 May 2007 by Earth Science Picture of the Day. Yay!

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Taken on October 21, 2006