Turpentine timber is durable in exposed positions and is highly resistant to damage by fire and attack by white ants and marine borers.
Another preeminent Australian tree is turpentine, renowned throughout the world for its durability, especially for use for heavy construction for jetties, wharves and in other seawater environments.
Turpentine is a large tree usually 40-45 metres in height in 1.0-1.3 metres in diameter, but not uncommonly attaining 55 metres in height in a from 2.0-2.5 metres in diameter on optimum sites. The trunk is straight and of good form with little taper up to two-thirds… Read more “Used around the world for construction in seawater”
10,000 years ago, vast cedar forests stretched across the eastern Mediterranean towards Mesopotamia and what is now southwestern Iran.
The cedar of Lebanon or Lebanese cedar is a species of tree in the pine family, native to the mountains of the Eastern Mediterranean basin. It is a large evergreen conifer that has great religious and historical significance in the cultures of the Middle East, and is referenced many times in the literature of ancient civilisations.
It is no exaggeration to say that the magnificent cedar of Lebanon played a crucial role in the development of civilisation. We … Read more “Tree that powered the development of civilisation”
The remnants of what was once a more extensive forest.
There are few avenues were people drive out just to see at sunset, but the Avenue of the Baobabs at Morondava draws admirers from all over the world. A dusty road half an hour’s drive north of the town of Morondava on the west coast of Madagascar passes through a stunning grove of baobabs, the remnants of what was once a more extensive forest.
The famous Avenue of the Baobabs has perhaps more than 100 trees in the grove. The species – the biggest and most famous of Madagascar’s six species of baobabs – is Adansonia grandidieri taking its name from two… Read more “Madagascar baobabs – a worldwide attraction”
Your breath will smell as if you’ve been French-kissing your dead grandmother.
Out in the Malaysian forest with forestry people beware if you happen upon a durian tree with ripe fruit. You are likely to be invited to try some as others watch on in a sort of forest initiation. It is really an invitation you can’t decline.
Durian (Durio zibethinus) trees are members of the hibiscus or mallow family, and are renowned for their large edible fruit. They are also related to breadfruit and jackfruit. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, the durian is now cultivated in Indonesia, the Philippines,… Read more “Tastes like heaven smells like hell – encounter with the Durian tree not for the faint-hearted”
Recently I was fortunate to have had a tree adventure in Neverland, where I was privileged to spend some time with Peter Pan and Wendy. True! Neverland is a property in the Illawarra region of NSW, and is the home of Peter and Wendy McAra, better known as Peter Pan and Wendy.
They are both distinguished retired academics, and although you wouldn’t think so to look at him Peter is also a much celebrated author of numerous romantic novels and stage plays. But in addition to these interests, and perhaps best of all, Peter and Wendy are red cedar enthusiasts with a red cedar plantation and area of native… Read more “The red cedars of Neverland”
The now New Zealand piece of the once great southern continent Gondwanaland drafted south before the Australian eucalypts evolved, but did, and still does, host a eucalypt ancestor, the Metrosideros trees, including the pohutukawa, or New Zealand Christmas Tree, plus the Northern and Southern rātā trees. So, no eucalypts (or snakes) made it onto the New Zealand as Gondwanaland fragmented – all those millions of years ago.
Talking about rātā trees, hidden in the Akatarawa Forest, near New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, is one of the country’s best kept tree secrets – reported as a living… Read more “Akatarawa giant rātā – a secret New Zealand tree treasure”
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”
The world’s lightest hardwood continues to be widely grown. Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) is a large, fast-growing tree native from southern Mexico to southern Brazil, but can now be found in many other countries, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Solomon Islands.
Balsa trees can establish themselves in forest clearings or on abandoned agricultural fields and grow extremely rapidly. Their speed of growth accounts for the lightness of the wood, which has a lower density than cork. Trees generally do not live beyond 30 to 40 years. Balsa is widely cultivated … Read more “From primitive rafts to speedy bombers”
Cork oak, Quercus suber a medium-sized, evergreen tree is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and other uses. It is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. It grows to up to 20 metres, although it is typically more stunted in its native environment.
Cork oaks commonly live more than 200 years. Cork harvesting is done entirely without machinery. The European cork industry produces 340,000 tonnes of cork a year, with a value of €1.5 billion and employs 30,000 people.
The cork is used to make a wide range of products in addition to wine bottle stoppers, including insulation… Read more “More than just wine bottle stoppers”