A very striking parasite

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  • Published 20150127
  • ISBN: 9781922182678
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I RECENTLY EMAILED a photo of the Western Australian Christmas tree, Nuytsia floribunda, to a Chinese friend in Nanjing. In uncharacteristically gushy fashion, she wrote back rapidly, ‘I like these yellow flowers. They are very beautiful like gold, like honey. I want to eat them!’ Associating my flowers with hers, she then reminded me of meihua, the elegant plum blossom, the subject of much adulation in China.

Often we in Australia know more about the charismatic plants of the northern hemisphere than we do our own. Cherries, roses, tulips, oaks. But what lore of this brilliant golden tree of my part of the world could I tell my virtual friend? To venture an answer, I must begin with a premise: the Christmas tree is a perfect contradiction.

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About the author

John Charles Ryan

John Charles Ryan is postdoctoral research fellow in communications and arts at Edith Cowan University in Perth. He is the author of the poetry...

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