Eerie demeanour heightened by the tear drops of translucent blood-red resin that ooze from wounded limbs.
Very trendy across Sydney, and as dear as poison the Dragon’s Blood tree is a cross somewhere between spectacular and bizarre.
Endemic to the Yemeni island off Socotra, near the Horn of Africa Dragon’s Blood (Dracaena cinnabari) trees have an eerie, prehistoric aspect. Their bizarre shape, like umbrellas blowing inside-out, helps them to survive on the arid, thin soil that covers the island’s granite mountains and limestone plateaus. Rainfall is rare, but occasional… Read more “The spectacular and bizarre Dragon’s Blood tree – get one for your garden”
The tallest tree on the African continent
I remember back in the last century when I was a kid sleeping on a kapok mattress. Put your hand up if you remember doing the same.
Of course, kapok filled mattresses are a product of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra). A tree that when mature is an impressive sight – the tallest tree on the African continent – soaring up to as high as a 20-story building, with a huge dense spreading canopy. Not surprisingly local inhabitants usually referred to kapok trees as “pillars that support the sky”.
When young the kapok tree trunk is bright green with groups… Read more “From mattresses to psychotherapy – the amazing kapok tree”
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”
A throwback to the days of Gondwanaland
I have always been intrigued by King Billy or King William pine. I haven’t seen one in the wild, so a trip to Tasmania beckons! In a country now dominated by eucalypt trees King Billy pine is a throwback to the days of Gondwanaland. Then of course species of ancient conifer trees ruled the Southern Hemisphere.
Today very few of these ancient conifers remain where they co exits only in Tasmania along with a few other Gondwanaland conifer relicts and the broadleaf Tasmanian myrtle (Nothofagus cunninghamii). Those that do have retreated to small scattered refugees… Read more “King Billy pine a nod to Tassie’s geological ancestry”
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”
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”
What is a blue quandong (Elaeocarpus angustifolius) tree? Also called the blue marble tree or blue fig, though it is not a type of fig. Quandong is a corruption of guwandbang, a word of the Wiradjuri aboriginal people of Australia, is a tall, elaboratively buttressed, fast growing evergreen tree. It grows from South East Asia to the south of Queensland and northern New South Wales, preferring rainforests and the banks of streams. Quandong trees can also be found in New Caledonia, the Northern Territory and New Guinea.
Tolerant of both drought and salinity, quandong trees have drooping, leathery,… Read more “Blue quandong – bush tucker and jam”