Monday, July 04, 2016

What Gum is that?

The gruff widower Holland has two possessions he cherishes above all others: his sprawling property of eucalyptus trees and his ravishingly beautiful daughter, Ellen.

When Ellen turns nineteen Holland makes an announcement: she may marry only the man who can correctly name the species of each of the hundreds of gum trees on his property.


Ellen is uninterested in the many suitors who arrive from around the world, until one afternoon she chances on a strange, handsome young man resting under a Coolibah tree….

 

… The plot of Eucalyptus a novel by Murray Bail

I thought I needed to brush up on my identification of the local eucalypts (gum trees to us aussies) as a preliminary to the Jell’s Park Photowalk, and it a lot harder than you might think.

 

 

#185 Vertarama of a Gum Tree

This vertarama (a vertical panorama) is built from 5 photos using Autostitch, from straight ahead to almost vertical over head, which leads to the curved expansion at the top. I think this is a Yarra River Gum, which only grows in central/southern Victoria, and is recognized  as "in a highly precarious position and one of the most threatened of the eucalypt species". Pryor (1981). I should have included a person to show the size of this tree (probably over 30m). The pines behind it  would normally be considered tall. The CSIRO is building a guide called EUCLID , that supposedly is Identifying eucalypts made easy, I could not find it online but they are nearing 900 species now. And it isn’t so simple, the classification depends on type or bark, leaf shape, flowering, seed shape and density, branching habit and season of observation, just to mention some of parameters. The only true way to identify the Yarra River Gum, according to Dr Tree from Otway Greening, “If you're really keen to identify a yarra gum, grab some leaves and boil them in water for two minutes. If it is a yarra, a volatile oil called benzaldehyde will be given off by the process. And according to Simmons (1986) it smells of a cross between bitter almonds and fish oil!” Needless to say I haven’t done that.

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