Posted by: scribe9 | September 19, 2010

Two (tui!) things I will miss most

I have long thought of the tree between my office windows and the street as the grass tree, because it had two-inch leaves like blades of grass. I couldn’t identify it, although I early on determined that it wasn’t a native. It easily sways in the breeze.

Finally it bloomed. This morning, when I was out taking a photograph of it, an elderly woman walked by. I asked her if she knew what it was and she said, “I’ve always known it as a Mediterranean Acacia.” It turns out that’s a common name for Acacia floribunda, although mine doesn’t quite fit either that description or the one for Acacia longissima.

Both are natives of southeastern Australia—just across the Ditch! The Aussies call A. floribunda “Gossamer Wattle.” I like the gossamer part, but I can’t understand why such a lovely genus as the Acacias has the pedestrian common name of wattle.

We have another wattle in the back yard, where it’s eating our laundry pole.

Bees love the flowers.

Tui birds, which are a species of honeyeater, visit frequently, too, but it’s difficult to get a photo of them through the flowers. It’s just plain difficult, even when they’re in other trees. But all is not lost, for here’s a picture I found on the net:

What I will really miss about the tui is not its appearance–I rarely see it very clearly–but its song, or should I say noises. It has two voiceboxes, so it can both squawk and sing. Mornings will not be the same without the voice of the tui, which you can hear here:



  1. Hi there, please let me know if i could paint this pick i am a nature artist.

    • Which picture did you wish to paint?

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