Go mbeannai Dia duit.

About Me

My photo
Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday's Trivia.

....a staggering 24,000 species of native plants have been identified compared to England's 1700 native plants . The Culture Portal

John Williamson sings about a home among the gum trees with its verandah out the front, clothsline out the back & the odd kangaroo or two. We have all that. Which stands to reason. Eucalypts are the most common species of anything around here & can grow up to 50 metres.
Eucalypt comes from the Greek & means *beautiful bark* ~ & bark is often one of the outstanding features of a eucalypt. Stringy bark gums come with hairy hides where the bark peels in long wiry fibers. In other species it peels in long ribbons. Yet in others the bark flakes to reveal the new gorgeous creamy salmon wood beneath. Round here we get lots of iron barks which have rough bubbly bark. Distinctive, I think, is the term best used.

Eucalypts are tall but shallow rooted with high oil content leaves hanging vertically & providing scanty shade. They are often deliberately planted to drain swamps & we have 2 very large species growing below the high water mark on our foreshore. Their wood burns hot & for a long time so they are an excellent firewood.Euculypts is what everyone thinks of when they think Australian tree. They're those things koalas live in & koalas eat gum leaves ~ though the reality is they will only eat the leaves of certain species. Eucalypts are as common as mud. What scientists get really excited about is the wollimi pine. I am not going to tell you how old scientists think this species is. If you believe in *young earth* the figure will be just wrong & anyone else can go look it up. What is exciting is the wollemi is considered a *living fossil* known only through fossil remains until 1994 when David Noble discovered one growing in the Wollemi National Park near Katoomba, land of the 3 sisters. Wollemi is an Aboriginal word meaning "look around you, keep your eyes open and watch out". What is scary is that only 40 trees are known to exist in the wild though a conservation effort is under way that has all sorts of people growing & cultivating them. Why not? Apparently they make a good indoor plant. At a full height of 40 metres I don't think so! However they do have the lowest known genetic variability of any plant species.
Then there is the Huon Pine ~ one of the oldest living trees on the planet & the first Australian conifer to be exploited commercially. It can grow for 1 200 years but even more interesting is the Mountain Ash which has the notoriety of being the tallest flowering plant in the world though no living species is taller than the long lived Californian Redwood at 115.55 metres & currently the world's tallest tree. Unlike most Australian trees the Mountain Ash does not rejuvenate well after fire & is propagated only from seed. It does, however, grow at the rate of a metre a year & heights have been recorded of 140+ metres. Between January & March white flowers appear, lasting for 1~2 weeks, followed by pear shaped fruits. Leadbeater's possum requires mature Mountain Ash for nesting & lyrebirds often like the understory as the Mountain ash produces 3 times more leaf litter than most other species while in a forest of Mountain Ash none of the crowns touch each other.


Mrs. C said...

Gorgeous post, Ganeida.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ganeida,
My son loves the Wollemi pines, and would surround this place with them, given half the chance. I agree with you about the age of them.:/

Have a great week,

Persuaded said...

Here in the US, the only contact we have with Eucalypt trees are those eucalyptus cough drops;) Do the trees smell like the cough drops, I wonder?

I am not a traveler, in fact the idea of leaving home and hearth for parts unknown is rather frightening to me. Still, I would love to travel to Australia.. in many ways it seems like a different world, and yet so the same to here in other ways.
Speaking of not-the-same, we had our first real snow of the season this morning. What was the weather like at your house, my friend? ;)

seekingmyLord said...

I have seen Redwoods in person when I was eight years old. I think they are about the only things that don't look smaller as one gets bigger!

Sandra said...

Some more interesting facts. I will need to lookup the age of the trees, since you wouldn't give. : )

Ganeida said...

Thanks MrsC.

Jillian: Old is old. After a certain point, what does it matter?

Persuaded: Yes, you can smell eculypts ~ though they don't really smell much like a lozenge! ☺ It is hot & muggy oour way & it keeps threatening to rain.

Seeking: Oh, my. There are still some sights in this world I would give a great deal to see & staning under a redwood is one of them.

Sandra: I provided the linkie. ☺

Sandra said...

And I checked it out. They are VERY old indeed. Wow.