Sep 14, 2011

A New Plant in our Scrub

A new plant has been found in Franke Scrub.

It is a tiny little mistletoe called Korthalsella japonica forma rubra. You can see why it is known as "zygocactus mistletoe".

This mistletoe grows on a number of different dry rainforest plant species, and in our case it's growing on a Yellow Condoo tree, Pouteria cotinifolia.

Korthalsella species (of which there are probably two on the Downs) are the only known host plants for the Yellow-spotted Jezebel butterfly. We have seen this butterfly in Franke Scrub. You wouldn't imagine that such a small plant could host very many caterpillars, but it must be doing the trick! Our little jezebel population may be a thing of our very own, possibly isolated from any other likely source of host plants, now that clearing has reduced our local evergreen vine thickets to such small remnant pieces.

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