Sunday, 2 March 2008

Snow Berries, Gaultheria hispida

Snow Berry plant, Gaultheria hispida, Mt Wellington - 2nd March 2008The Snow Berries (Gaultheria hispida) were very obvious along the ZigZag Track the other day, making for a very attractive display. The Snow Berrry grows all over Mt Wellington, and really brightens up the bush in the autumn. The plant flowers in the spring and early summer, but this is far less obvious than the fruiting in the autumn. Apparently it can be grown from the seed contained in the white fruits. The name is derived from the Latin, hispidus (hispidus -a -um [rough , hairy, bristly]) = bristling, alluding to the coarse reddish-brown hairs on the leaves. (R. Minchin) This plant is endemic to Tasmania.

Snow Berry foliage, Gaultheria hispida, Mt Wellington - 2nd March 2008The foliage comes in a range of colours, but the most dramatic plants have an iridescent, red-blue look to them. The leaves do turn a very bright red colour at times too - perhaps this is as they die? The ZigZag Track is a great place to see them right now, and they appear in a good range of colours along the way.

Snow Berry fruit, Gaultheria hispida, Mt Wellington - 2nd March 2008The fruits are very attractive here, contrasting superbly with the various deep, glowing and dull greens of the Tasmanian bush (which Fuji film used to pick up so well). The fruits vary in colour somewhat from plant to plant, as does the foliage. The white-cream-pink-red colours are very attractive against the greens.

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