Spring is here!
Here spring is more like an intense bout of schizophrenia.
At night winter has a monopoly, with temperatures dropping to 8 C
And the weather's not the only one refusing to take its meds.
After five months without rain, the bush is leafless, parched and grey. As you'd expect. Then whoosh (that's a figurative whoosh, not an audible whoosh), all the knob thorns burst into flower.
|Knob thorns (Acacia nigrescens) are the dominant tree species here, so if they decide to bloom prolifically, when everyone else is playing dead, it's rather startling.|
|The knob thorn gets its name from its... er... knobs, which grow on the trunk and branches of young trees. Each knob is tipped with a single thorn, presumably to spike large herbivores.|
|In Africa, acacias are called thorn trees (rather than wattles) because of their weaponry. My tree guide (South African) puts it bluntly: 'Australian acacias are always spineless'. Even I feel that this is a trifle harsh.|
|Hard-won knob thorn flowers.|
|Munching knob thorn flowers isn't as pleasant as you'd think. They contain three times more tannin than the leaves. Tannins (which have that awful drying, astringent effect in your mouth) bind with the plant's proteins, making them indigestible. |