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A primitive vine, Austrobaileya is rare and endemic to the Wet Tropics (found nowhere else). It is the only species in its family and it is confined to very wet rainforests from low to upland altitudes. Austrobaileya (Austrobaileya scandens) is a canopy liane which reaches about 15 metres (50 feet). Its leaves are an odd bluey-green colour but its flowers are the giveaway that it is one of the earlier representatives of flowering plants. Its flower parts are arranged in a spiral and the petals are a pale green colour. Flies are the only pollinator and to ensure they are attracted, the flowers smell like rotting fish! Apricot coloured fruits of an oblong shape, up to 70mm by 50mm (2.8 by 2 inches) hang from the vine and contain a packed cluster of chestnut shaped seeds.
Spotted on Dec 17, 2011
Submitted on Apr 6, 2012