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Postings are excerpts from the exhibition catalog edited by Carol Woodin

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Magenta Lilly Pilly, Watercolor by Deirdre Bean, Australia

Syzygium paniculatum
Listing:Vulnerable, Australian Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

The Plant's Story

Australia is home to about 60 species of Syzygium.  They are all valuable trees and shrubs in Australia's tropical and subtropical rainforests, partly because they are a major food source for nectar-feeding and fruit-eating animals.

According to the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service, in the wild, magenta lilly pilly "occupies a narrow, linear coastal distribution in specific, restricted habitat types that have been extensively cleared and/or modified." These areas of coastal thickets and rainforest of eastern Australia have been listed as a critically endangered ecological community.

Three Syzygium species are listed as Vulnerable in this endangered habitat. They all serve as food for the protected grey-headed flying fox (a fruit bat). This bat is critical for dispersing seed from its food sources, spreading progeny of the trees whose fruit it eats.

The Artist's Story: Deirdre Bean

Syzygium paniculatum is native to my local area, and I have a mature tree growing in full view of my front door. Our neighbors say it has been fully grown since they moved in approximately 50 years ago. I painted a series of eight Syzygiums for an exhibition before the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK.

More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.

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