Ironbark trees are well woven into Australia’s folklore. They feature in poetry and essays from colonial times to the present. A common name of a number of species in three Eucalyptus groups, ironbark trees have dark, deeply furrowed bark. They are probably the most distinctive and easily recognised tree of the Australian eucalypt forest and are the source of some of our highest quality hardwoods.
Instead of being shed annually as in many of the other species of Eucalyptus, the dead bark accumulates on ironbark trees, forming the fissures. It becomes rough after drying out and becomes impregnated… Read more “Ironbark trees … part of the Australian lexicon”
The scribbly dialect zigzags around in a seemingly random and indecipherable pattern.
A standout feature of the spectacular forests of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney is the extensive stands of scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma), particularly in areas of poor soils on the typical sandstone country of the region. The trunk of each scribbly gum is a work of art fashioned by nature.
Scribbly gum is usually a small tree, frequently of very poor form 12 to 15 metres in height and 30 to 70 centimetres in diameter. On better sites in its northern distribution the tree may obtain a height of 25 metres.… Read more “Scribbly gum works of art fashioned by nature”
The tree can also be found in several more temperate regions of Australia.
Silver birch (Betula pendula), is native to Europe and parts of Asia, though southern Europe, it is found only at higher altitudes. Its range extends into Siberia, China, and southwest Asia in the mountains of northern Turkey, the Caucasus, and northern Iran. It has been introduced into North America, where it is known as the European white birch. The tree can also be found in several more temperate regions of Australia. In 1988 the Finish people voted silver birch as their national tree.
Silver birch is a medium-sized deciduous… Read more “Silver birch and shamanistic pee-drinking stories”
Living in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of King’s Cross as I do the dominant tree in the neighbourhood is the deciduous London plane tree. With large maple-like leaves and towering height the London plane is a tree of pump and circumstance. The branches begin high up the trunk so that mature trees have a lofty, architectural quality, giving plenty of shade without restricting the view at street level.
Planted throughout London in the nineteenth century to complement the cities imposing squares and thoroughfares, the plane tree was the ideal symbol for the capital of a growing empire.… Read more “Famous London plane trees disappearing from Sydney streets”
Now the national tree of Peru and Ecuador, Cinchona changed the course of world history. There are more than 20 species of this impressive 25 metre tree with large, shiny, conspicuously veined leaves and deliciously fragrant, white to lilac-pink flowers that grow in small clusters, generally pollinated by butterflies and hummingbirds. But the tree’s real claim to fame is the effectiveness of its bark for treating malaria.
In the early seventeenth century, when Spanish colonists and Jesuit missionaries in Peru were first introduced to Cinchona bark, there was no malaria in South America.… Read more “‘Powder of the Devil’ … the revolutionary cure for malaria”