Sunday, June 7, 2015

Monga National Park

Today we made a family trip to Monga National Park. Sadly the sun never came out, and consequently the weather was a bit chilly, and it was hard to get decent pictures under those light conditions.

Our main objective was to visit Penance Grove, depicted above. It is quite beautiful but has been the site of severe ecological vandalism in the past. Some complete @#$%^ went there and chopped off dozens of tree ferns. Their sad, dead stumps can be seen between the surviving ones, because tree ferns generally don't re-sprout. It is also strongly to be assumed that the pieces the vandal harvested died as well; one just wonders if they did so before he sold them or after. Anyway, depressing sight, but happily there are a lot of living tree ferns too.

Apart from its general beauty, we wanted to visit the grove because it is a place where Dawsonia superba (Polytrichaceae), the largest moss in the world, can be found in the wild. This is a clump of it above. Apart from producing spores the plant spreads via a rhizome-like stem system in the ground.

The above picture shows how large an individual stem and its leaves are. This is something quite different from other mosses, and many people mistake it for a vascular plant.

Apart from lots of ferns and mosses there are also many lichens. The one above makes a rotting tree stump look like a miniature alien landscape.

Finally, the Mongarlowe river near Dasyurus Picnic Area. Along the riverbanks the local Waratah species Telopea mongaensis (Proteaceae) can be seen flowering in October to December. Perhaps a reason to visit again.

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