David Anderson, Fraser Island Association
In numerous attempts to “sell” the idea of Fraser Island native plants to replace exotics in gardens around Eurong, I have been met with the same plea from a number of land owners: “Can we get plants with colour?”
There are many natives with colour. However, some may struggle in the coastal conditions. All is not lost because there is one native that produces sprays of flowers that grow in protected areas near the coast. I know this because the Fraser Island Creeper (Tecomanthe hillii) is thriving in my front yard. I just hope its host tree can survive its mass. It is an unusual plant in that the flower sprays grow from the woody vine itself, not in amongst the leaves in the soft vine tendrils. The flower sprays erupt around August from tiny maroon-coloured buds.
When the vine finishes it flowering, it produces brown bean shaped seed pods which eventually spring open and release dozens of winged seeds.
I’m no botanist, but I know all this because I have watched this spectacular native climber only a few metres from our front deck. So if these Fraser Island Creepers can be propagated in the QPWS nursery, they would make a welcome splash of Spring colour in any Fraser Island garden. It does require a sturdy tree or structure to climb for it is a heavy vine.