What Induces Central Australian Arid Zone Trees and Shrubs to Flower and Fruit? Academic Article uri icon


  • We developed two sets of regression models for flowering and fruiting of arid zone trees and shrubs, based on (i) rainfall in the current and preceding seasons and (ii) soil moisture lagged over varying time periods combined with mean maximum temperature and daylength in the month prior to phenological observations. Using up to 4 years of flowering and fruiting records, we found that both approaches identified responses matching those reported in two other long-term data sets or in the literature, for some species but not for all. The second approach appeared to provide better correlations than the first but we were unable to predict flowering and fruiting effectively. Flowering and fruiting of central Australian trees and shrubs were least in late summer, creating potential limitations on animal populations dependent on them for food. With better predictive capabilities, there is some scope for managing the trees and shrubs for particular purposes. However, very long-term phenological records are needed to improve predictions.


  • Friedel, MH
  • Nelson, DJ
  • Sparrow, AD
  • Kinloch, JE
  • Maconochie, JR

publication date

  • 1993