A sampling of Australian trees

Canadians won't recognize these as mountain ash, but that's what these eucalyptus trees are called in Victoria (the Australian state, not the British Columbia capital)
Canadians won't recognize these as mountain ash, but that's what these eucalyptus trees are called in Victoria (the Australian state, not the British Columbia capital)

Coming from a country of four seasons, where conifers are one of the few trees that keep their leaves/needles all year, I am intrigued by the eucalyptus trees of Australia. In our travels along the populated southern corridors, we have seen only a fraction of the more than 800 species of gum trees.

To a gum tree newbie, they all look pretty much the same, with their grey-green leaves and mottled trunks. Gradually they begin to sort themselves out, though only into broad categories. The leaves have different shapes. The flowers and nuts vary. While they are all fragrant, they have different aromas. Some trunks are straight. Others twist and curve. Some shed their bark in long strings, others in patches. The bark of some species is smooth, in others, rough.

In a bushfire, gum trees burn hot and fast, but they are not consumed. Before many months pass, green shoots appear on blackened trunks. Ferns uncurl from the ashes. Young trees grow quickly. Within a few years the forest is green again.

Smooth bark of the lemon-scented gum, whose leaves smell like lemon when crushed
Smooth bark of the lemon-scented gum, whose leaves smell like lemon when crushed

One thing the dizzying variety of gum trees have in common is that Australian expatriates or travelers get misty-eyed when they catch the scent of eucalyptus.

An excellent Web site for those wanting to know more about gum trees is the EUCLID site.

The photos here are only a sampling of the over 800 species of gums as well as a few of their arboreal cousins.

Note the peppercorns on this pepper tree branch Robin's holding
Note the peppercorns on this pepper tree branch Robin's holding
Trunks of karri gums in Karri National Forest, Western Australia
Trunks of karri gums in Warren National Forest, Western Australia
When bottle brush trees are in bloom, rainbow lorikeets like this one feed on their flowers
When bottle brush trees are in bloom, rainbow lorikeets like this one feed on their flowers
A pomegranate ready to be plucked from the tree
A pomegranate ready to be plucked from the tree
Cathryn sitting on the spreading roots of a Morton Bay fig, in Adelaide's Botanic Garden
Cathryn sitting on the spreading roots of a Morton Bay fig, in Adelaide's Botanic Garden
Flowers of a crepe myrtle, on a neighbourhood street in Marion, South Australia
Flowers of a crepe myrtle, on a neighbourhood street in Marion, South Australia
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3 thoughts on “A sampling of Australian trees

  1. Michelle

    I love the Morton Bay Fig trees. They seem to have a louder “voice” than many others and the trunks and roots of the trees always look like Giants Feet – about to get up and walk away.

  2. Flick

    I am wondering which species of pepper tree was pictured? I love the look of the tree and the usefulness of the peppercorns!

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