Monday, September 12, 2011

Ferals grow along the banks of the Maranoa River at Mitchell

The ancient meandering riverbed of the Maranoa is bordered by natives such as river red gums, acacias and white cedars, as well as feral plants -- good and bad.

The ferals are the result of flood waters that sweep down this mighty river, distributing weed species far and wide. Thistles and burrs are the most obvious and troublesome, with Noogoora burrs (as shown in the photo) one of the worst.

When a Noogoora burr presses its way between the pads of Major's foot, he stops immediately, holds his paw up and waits for me to pull out the offending barb. For people running sheep and cattle enterprises, thistles, burrs and other noxious weeds are a huge problem.

On the other hand, branches torn from fruit trees -- upstream -- sometimes lodge in the bank, there to mature into fruit-bearing trees. The mulberry tree by the bridge is an example, along with a peach tree (also shown in a photo) that grows on the riverbank near our home. This is the same tree that produced masses of pink blossom in August.

Unfortunately, fruit fly often spoils the fruit from the peach, but the mulberry is usually unblemished -- and delicious!

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