Myrsine variabilis

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Myrsine variabilisFamily: Myrsinaceae
Genus: Myrsine
Common name: Muttonwood
ALA reference

In September 2007 one of these trees flowered profusely and at that time I wondered if it would set any fruit as the flowers are pollinated by thrips, maybe just a single species of thrips. Here is the answer. The ground for a meter or two around the base of the tree is covered with hundreds of seedlings. (February 2011)

This attractive small tree has very glossy dark-green leaves clustered towards the ends of the branches. It was previously classified as Rapanea variabilis. About a month ago I noticed that all the branches were smothered in flower buds. I waited and waited for the buds to open to photograph the flowers until I suddenly realised that all the flowerbuds were falling off. It was then that I discovered that the flowers had actually opened and were falling off because they hadn’t been pollinated. From my subsequent research I discovered that it is thought that these flowers are pollinated by thrips, maybe just a single species of thrips. I am now waiting to see if the tree has set any fruit at all this year. It is possible that because the bushland is so degraded, there are no longer any of the necessary thrips to effect pollination of the flowers. (September 2007)

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