Cheese and wine beside the river
ON many fine evenings Himself and I sit beside the river with a glass of red in hand and a choice of cheese. With the sun setting over the rainforest on Susan Island and the sky and the river lighting up a kaleidoscope of colour, it seems that God's in Heaven and all's right with the world. This latter feeling lasts until we turn on the evening news when doom and gloom leap out from the television.
So much for cheese and wine.
Cheese comes for the birds and butterflies too in the form of the Cheese Tree (Glochidion ferdinandi). This is a small tree with a bushy spreading crown, common along sheltered stream banks and on rain forest margins from Tuross Head near Moruya in NSW to Hinchinbrook Island, Qld.
Locally it has been recorded at Kangaroo Creek, Ramornie, Mount Pikapene and Iluka Nature Reserve. It is named 'ferdinandi' after Ferdinand von Mueller, one of the greatest Australian collectors and botanists.
The trunk of the Cheese Tree is often crooked and flanged with the outer bark brownish-purple and fissured. Leaves are smooth and green on both surfaces with the upper surface glossy and tapering to a point at the tip.
Its insignificant flowers are greenish yellow with the male flowers often clustered into threes, female flowers single. Flowering period is mainly October.
The fruit, a small capsule which is hairless, green turning red, and slightly furrowed, resembles a miniature cheese, hence its common name. Fruit is ripe mainly November to February and is popular with many birds including Figbird, Lewin's Honeyeater, Olive-backed Oriole, White-headed Pigeon, and Brown Cuckoo-Dove. It also serves as food for the larvae of the Shining Pencil-blue and the
Shining Oak-blue butterflies.
In our streets I can find very few of these trees but readers may know of more. That shown beside the river has survived immersion in floods losing a branch or two but battles on. The small specimen shown, about four years old, is located in the western end of Victoria Street, south.
So as you enjoy the delicious cheeses of Australia (with or without a glass of wine) be pleased that the birds and butterflies have their cheeses too.
❝ Cheese comes for the birds and butterflies too in the form of the Cheese Tree.
Reference: AG Floyd: Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-eastern Australia. Internet: Bushcraft Oz
Cheese tree by the river.
Leaves and baby cheeses.
Young specimen in Victoria St, Grafton.