Tag Archives: trees

Gum Trees Rule: Observations on Blog Visits

Before I carry the narrative beyond the Northern Territory, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what the statistics for this blog are telling me. Interestingly, what they’ve told me is that eucalyptus trees are of stunning interest—particularly ghost gums. Every day, the top post people are looking at is the one I did one year ago about eucalyptus trees (eucalypts in general, but with a special nod to, and photo of, the lovely ghost gum). Of those who reach that post, more than half have actually searched for ghost gums. Others have just looked for gum trees, Australian gums, eucalypts, Australian eucalyptus trees, or blue gums. Posts I’ve done on other trees—boabs, screw palms, and paperbarks—get some play, but nothing like the eucalypts. With more than 100 posts on the site, “Ghost Gums” still gets about 1 out of every 8 hits.

Anzac biscuits are in second place, but have gotten less than a quarter of the hits the post on eucalyptus trees has received. Anzac biscuits was an early post, too (March 23, 2007). Of more recent posts, termites and water buffalo seem to be gaining ground pretty quickly. Of course, that simply reflects searches. Once people get to the site, parrots, waterfalls, rainforest, kangaroos, and other delights keep them around. But there are a lot of folks interested in gum trees.

I did include a fair bit of interesting stuff about eucalypts in that earlier post (May 14, 2007), but I figured, if gum trees are so hot, I could at least give you a couple more photos. Eucalypts are lovely trees, and incredibly varied in size, appearance, and flowers. (And most gum flowers, in addition to being attractive, offer up delightful honey.)

The gum flower below is red, but for different species, can be pink, white, or yellow, and can range from tiny to fairly impressive. The other photo shows one of the things I love about the many eucalypts that shed their bark, what I call the Impressionist Effect. The bark comes off in long strips, and the fresher vs. older places where bark has come off give the trunk the look of an impressionist painting. Depending on the type of tree, the freshness of the lost bark, and the weather, there can be more colors than this—a greater range of tans and browns, plus greens and even rust color. This effect never failed to delight me.

Eucalyptus flower Eucalyptus trunk

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Boabs

If you rotate Australia slightly, you will see that it looks as though it would fit fairly snuggly into the eastern curve of the African continent. According to the theory of plate tectonics, that is, in fact, precisely where Australia started out. Aside from shape, another bit of evidence of the one-time proximity of these two continents is the local flora, particularly acacias and boabs. Acacias are primarily found in Australia and Africa. Boabs are only found in Australia and Africa—though they are called baobabs in Africa.

Most of Australia’s boabs are located around the town of Derby, in the extreme north of Western Australia. The trunk of the boab is bulbous, and one famous boab was large enough to serve as a makeshift jail during the early days of settlement out west.

The limbs of the boab are generally leafless, which, combined with the bulging trunk, gives the tree a most unusual appearance. Aboriginal legend tells that the boab tree was once tall, proud, and beautiful. However, the tree’s conceit and air of superiority when comparing itself to other trees angered the spirits, and they bewitched the tree so that from that time forward it would grow upside-down. When you hear the legend, then look at the boab, you can’t help being amused at how utterly the tale suits the tree—it really does look like it has been uprooted and stuffed head first into the ground.

Boab, Western Australia

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Filed under Australia, Geography, Lore, Nature, Photography, Travel