|Telopea mongaensis at Monga National Park|
Telopea mongaensis, commonly known as the Monga Waratah or Braidwood Waratah, is a shrub or small tree in the Proteaceae family. Endemic to Australia, it grows at high altitude in south eastern New South Wales. It bears many red flowerheads in spring, each made up of 28 to 65 individual flowers, and has narrow green leaves. It is often seen in moist areas at the edge of rainforest or by streams in eucalyptus forests.
Telopea mongaensis grows as a tall shrub to 6 m (20 ft) high. The thin leaves are 4–18 cm (1.6–7 in) in length, and 0.5–2 cm (0.2–0.8 in) wide. The red flowers form in spring. Open, thin and wiry, the flowerheads (inflorescences) are not as spectacular as those of T. speciosissima but are much more numerous on the plant. Each flowerhead is around 6 to 10 cm (2.4-4 in) in diameter, and composed of anywhere from 28 to 65 individual small flowers, or florets. Anthesis, or the opening of the flowers, begins at the edges or base of the flowerhead and moves to the centre. The individual flower bears a sessile anther (that is, it lacks a filament), which lies next to the stigma at the end of the style. The ovary lies at the base of the style and atop a stalk known as the gynophore, and it is from here that the seed pods then develop. Meanwhile, a crescent shaped nectary lies at the base of the gynophore. The flowerheads are surrounded by green or pink leafy bracts 1.2-4.5 cm (0.5-0.9 in) in length, much less prominent than those of the New South Wales Waratah. Flowering is followed by the development of woody seed pods, 4.5–7 cm (0.9-2.8 in) long.
It can be distinguished from the similar T. oreades, which has larger leaves and often grows with a tree-like habit.
First described by Australian botanist Edwin Cheel in 1947, its specific name is derived from the region it grows, Monga. The type specimen collected on Sugarloaf Mountain near Braidwood. It had previously been considered a form of Telopea oreades. However, Cheel did not supply a means by which it could be distinguished from T. oreades. Later, microscopic analysis revealed that T. oreades had microscopic features termed sclereids while T. mongaensis did not.
Telopea mongaensis is one of five species from southeastern Australia which make up the genus Telopea. The genus lies in the subtribe Embothriinae, along with the tree waratahs (Alloxylon) from eastern Australia and New Caledonia, and Oreocallis and Chilean firetree (Embothrium coccineum) from South America. Almost all these species have red terminal flowers, and hence the subtribe's origin and floral appearance must predate the splitting of Gondwana into Australia, Antarctica, and South America over 60 million years ago.
Distribution and habitat
This plant may be seen between Fitzroy Falls in the north, and Monga National Park to the south. Its habitat is on the margins of temperate rainforest or in wet eucalypt forest, where it may be found along creeks or on mountain slopes, at an altitude of 540 to 760 m. It is often associated with Eucalyptus fastigata, Pinkwood (Eucryphia moorei) and the Soft tree fern Dicksonia antarctica.
Telopea mongaensis is more tolerant of shade, heavier soils and cooler climates than its more showy relative. It grows as a more compact plant of around 2 m (7 ft) in height in full sun. It is frost tolerant and has been grown in southern England, and has been awarded an Award of Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1980. It attracts birds to the garden.
- Crisp, Michael D.; Weston,Peter H. (1995). "Telopea". In McCarthy, Patrick (ed.). Flora of Australia: Volume 16: Eleagnaceae, Proteaceae 1. CSIRO Publishing / Australian Biological Resources Study. pp. 386–390. ISBN 0-643-05693-9.
- Willis, JL (1959). "The genus Telopea". Australian Plants (Chipping Norton, NSW: Surrey Beatty & Sons) 1 (1): 7–10.
- Wrigley, John; Fagg, Murray (1991). Banksias, Waratahs and Grevilleas. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. p. 539. ISBN 0-207-17277-3.
- Nixon, Paul (1997) . The Waratah (2nd ed.). East Roseville, NSW: Kangaroo Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-86417-878-6.
- Crisp, Michael D. ; Weston, Peter H. (1993). "Geographic and Ontogenetic Variation in Morphology of Australian Waratahs (Telopea: Proteaceae)". Systematic Biology 42 (1): 49–76. JSTOR 2992556.
- Johnson, Lawrie. A. S.; Briggs, Barbara G. (1975). "On the Proteaceae: the evolution and classification of a southern family". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 70 (2): 83–182. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1975.tb01644.x.
- Weston, Peter H.; Barker, Nigel P. (2006). (fulltext) "A new suprageneric classification of the Proteaceae, with an annotated checklist of genera". Telopea 11 (3): 314–44. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
- Nixon, p. 19.