Cataract Gorge 23/12/08 Highlights

The 23th Dec 2008 marks my first visit to the famous Cataract Gorge, Launceston. It’s almost shameful that I lived on this beautiful island for 4 years before paying the gorge a visit.

As I didn’t have much time I merely took a short walk  along the tourist track. The first thing that struck me botanically was the the exuberance of exotic ornamentals. There were whole colonies of  Red Velerian or Kiss me Quick (Centranthus ruber), Blue Periwinkle (Vinca major), Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus aggregate) and more.

By way of native plants, I was most delighted to see the Common Raspfern (Doodia australis). This would be be the first time I am seeing this fern growing naturally.

Also, I was struck by the preponderance of a native moss, Rhacocarpus purpurascens, growing on boulders there. This moss is more often found growing in alpine tarns (see my post on this moss).

My honours project supervisor, Paddy Dalton, told me that he collected this moss in fruit once for this locality. Personally, I’ve seen it scores of times on Mt Wellington but I’ve never seen capsules. Could there be something interesting going on here?

I’ll be back for another visit sometime.

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About David Tng

I am David Tng, a hedonistic botanizer who pursues plants with a fervour. I chase the opportunity to delve into various aspects of the study of plants. I have spent untold hours staring at mosses and allied plants, taking picture of pollen, culturing orchids in clean cabinets, counting tree rings, monitoring plant flowering times, etc. I am currently engrossed in the study of plant ecology (a grand excuse to see 'anything I can). Sometimes I think of myself as a shadow taxonomist, a sentimental ecologist, and a spiritual environmentalist - but at the very root of it all, a "plant whisperer"!
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