Nuytsia floribunda

by Brett Johnson December. 23, 2019 88 views

Nuytsia floribunda is a hemiparasitic tree found in Western Australia. The species is known locally as moodjar and, more recently, the Christmas tree, as the display of intensely bright flowers during the austral summer coincides with the Christmas season.

The habit of the species is a tree up to 10 metres (33 ft) high, or as a shrub. The rough bark is grey-brown. Flowers are a vivid yellow-orange, appearing between October and January.[2] The inflorescence on each flowering stem may be up to one metre in length.

It is a root hemiparasite, is photosynthetic and mainly obtains water and mineral nutrients from its hosts.

The haustoria arising from the roots of Nuytsia attach themselves to roots of many nearby plants and draw water and therefore nutrients from them. Almost all species are susceptible to attack; haustoria have even been found attached to underground cables. In natural settings Nuytsia withdraws relatively little from each individual host, but is attached to so many other plants that the benefit to this hemiparasitic tree is likely to be considerable. Roots and rhizomes extend out and may sucker to form new branches that give the appearance of a grove of trees. A network of fine and fragile roots arise from these larger underground parts, forming haustoria where they meet the roots of other species.

Fruit

The trunk is reported as up to 1.2 metres in diameter, with multiple layers of wood and bark that allow the tree to withstand fire. An unusual characteristic of the seedlings is the four to six cotyledons rather than two.

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