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”
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”
I can’t let November pass without mentioning the stunning jacaranda trees, now so much a feature of Sydney’s cityscape. The jacaranda tree’s hold on Sydney and its imagination is now so well entrenched that the tree is often mistaken for an Australian native. It’s actually indigenous to south America.
The species most commonly planted in Sydney, Jacaranda mimosifolia, was collected and taken to the Royal Gardens at Kew, England, in about 1818. One early source gives the credit to plant hunter Allan Cunningham, who was sent on from Rio de Janiero to NSW, where he would later briefly serve as colonial… Read more “Purple rain in November”
I have always had a soft spot for Agathis trees. This magnificent planted Queensland kauri (Agathis robusta) is adjacent to the beach on eastern Sydney where I occasionally go for a quick swim before work. It has to be well over a hundred years old – perhaps two hundred.
Together Agathis and Araucaria form the Southern Hemisphere conifer family of trees Araucariaceae. Agathis – a genus of thirteen species is generally known as kauri, after the Maori name for the New Zealand species Agathis australis.
Although the genus extends as far south as the warm temperate forests of northern New Zealand, … Read more “Kauri and monkey puzzle tree”
Boreal forests are one of the planet’s great ecosystems. Boreal (meaning northern – they are called taiga in Russia) forest occupies the northern sub arctic zone up beyond about latitude 50 encircling the Earth at the top of the Northern Hemisphere across Russia, Scandinavia, Alaska and Canada. The boreal forest belt represents the world’s largest land-based ecosystem and act as part of the largest source and filter of freshwater on the planet.
Temperatures in these boreal forests are usually extremely low with long winter seasons. The soil freezes – only thawing for a few months in the farthest… Read more “Boreal forests – it’s cold up there”
Just had a working visit to Brussels, and was it cold after the emerging summer temperatures in Sydney! The locals know how to dress for one digit temperatures – I just don’t own those sort of clothes.
The deciduous broadleaf trees in Brussels and elsewhere across the northern hemisphere are also transiting into their winter wardrobe. This means shedding their cloak of leaves. This feature of northern hemisphere broadleaf trees is only occasionally seen in the southern hemisphere.
As deciduous trees prepare for their annual leaf loss they absorb the chlorophyll, plus other nutrients from … Read more “Northern trees disrobe for winter”