What is your favourite eucalypt?
The Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group are polling Australia’s Favourite Eucalypt, click here for more details. What is your favourite eucalypt? This intriguing question has spurred tea room discussion, blog campaigns and, of course, tweeting #FavEuc frenzies.
My initial #FavEuc response was something along the lines of ‘plants are like children for me, its just not right to pick favs’. As a slight plant nut, I often get asked what my favourite plant is, and I genuinely find it very difficult to decide… there is a time and a place and a certain light for every plant out there.
However, I have to admit, Eucalyptus pauciflora are pretty alright.
Eucalyptus pauciflora are common at high elevations in Australia (hence common name Snow Gums), although there are a couple of examples of isolated lowland occurrences.
Their height can vary substantially, from 1m to up to 20m. Their bark is smooth, with colours ranging from clean white with grey strips to seasonal variations around the shades of olive green to red and pink.
Their leaves are variable in shape and length, shiny green on both sides with conspicuous veins running lengthwise. Juvenile leaves are opposite and ovate before becoming alternate and elongated in mature plants.
Their buds are club shaped, 7 – 12 per clustered in axils with caps with short points. Fruits are variable between subspecies though commonly have short pedicels, with a flat or slightly depressed disc and small valves at rim level.
When seen flowering, this usually occurs between Oct and Feb.
Littler known facts:
When found at high elevations, E. pauciflora are often multi-stemmed, with low, thick trunks providing excellent sitting, leaning or reclining habitats for ecologists.
When burnt, E. pauciflora resprout. Burnt white/grey stems often remain above new resprouting stems, which provide stark contrasts to blue alpine skies which have been known to inspire many pauses of thought and contemplation for the alpine walker.
I will leave you with this ancient example of a gorgeous snow gum:
Costermans, L (1994) ‘Native trees and shrubs of south-eastern Australia’. 5th Ed. New Holland Publishers, Australia.
All photos are my own.