Friday, 23 March 2007


This gum (perhaps Spotted Gum E maculata or E. nowraensis) grows in a small space adjacent to this community building at the Blackburn Road end of The Avenue, Blackburn (lat -37 49.07 long 145 09.03E).

Two buildings were joined, but room was made for the tree, and it appears from the left hand branch the tree has made some room for the building.

The young leaves....

The old nuts, I mean fruit...not so old nuts, I mean fruit...

and young flower buds, just weeks old.

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the heart of old England...

Near the Central Road entrance to the Blackburn Lake park car park (lat -37 49.51 long 145 09.55E) is this dishevelled thing, the oak species I know not as yet. It looks more like an overgrown bush but is a tree with the top taken off, so it has failed to grow up, and appears to have collapsed with effort of surviving beside the surrounding pines (along the roadside fence line) and the native trees of the park.

The leaves radiate from the twig...
the bark...
and another side of the tree, showing the main stem lopped.

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Friday, 16 March 2007

the new black...

The median strip between the service road and outbound lanes of Burwood Highway just east of Hanover Street (lat -37 51.51 long 145 11.08E). The black barked trees are quite common around here, and are especially used as street trees, and mostly in median strips. The species is, I think, Red ironbark Eucalyptus tricarpa, a Victorian species once known as E. sideroxylon, but now separated into a new species.

Canterbury Road, parallel with but north of Burwood Highway, has some excellent examples of the same trees used on the median strip. It will be interesting when these trees have reached full height- up to 30m., with a 1m. trunk. Just the sort of thing to appear out of a dark night. This copse is in the median strip between Mt Pleasant Road and Springvale Road intersections (lat -37 50.21 long 145 10.58E). The bark is most distinct, and Australian native trees have barks of a good range of colours, textures, and habits.
Below: the copse from the north side of the road, looking south-west on a cloudy day.

Bark is black, fissured, with a tinge of red at the base of the fissure. My digital camera does not like this black, and immediately turns the colour inside out.
Immature leaves of the Ironbark. The green turns greyish with maturity and gives the trees their distinctive look.
Young buds of E. tricarpa in threes. The buds of E. sideroxylon are in bunches of seven.
Mature fruit from last year.
Mature fruit several years old of E. tricarpa. Has a red polished look.

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'Tis a sad sight one often encounters on the footpaths of our town, of the remains of tree which the local council has determined has to cash its chips. This tree was on Burwood highway, on the north side (approx lat -37 51.55 long 145 11.55E).
A man was cutting the log up with a chainsaw when I happened along. He stepped aside so I could take these pictures. The log was about 4m long.
The rot in the picture above is probably the reason this tree was felled.
The pale area just under the bark at the top of the cut is the beginning of rot.
The rest of the timber appears in good condition. This log is about 50cm in diameter and would turn out a few good planks. Below is another tree which one day disappeared.
A branch high on the pale barked right hand tree broke one night in a bit of wind, and hung about precariously for a couple of weeks. One day the tree wasn't there.
We were left with a stumps....
a pile of wood chips...
and a pile of logs, neatly stacked as one would expect.
Woodchips make useful mulch, and reasonable paper. The country is cutting much of its native forest for chips. Some people, like me, don't like it all that much. Others are concerned with money, or justifications, or money.

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epicormic growth

Eucalypts derived an advantage over their competitors from epicormic growth. The 'shrub' in the yellow circle is on the edge of Culbara Reserve (lat -37 50.5 145 12.61 E), which is neighbour to Campbell's Croft, mentioned in earlier blogs. The area is about 1km north of Boronia Road where it crosses Dandenong Creek.

As one gets closer to the 'shrub', it is really the stumps of, I think, a Yellow Box, which has been cut after the tree has blown down. The 'shrub' is about 2m. high and about the same wide.
This closeup gives some indicator of the growth. The trunk is about 30cm in diameter, the shoots are prolific and hardy. Less than half the root ball is still in the ground, but
gradually another main trunk, or perhaps trunks, will emerge and grow into a tree.
From another site, this time on on the south side verge of Canterbury Road near Stevens reserve (lat -37 50.3 long 145 11.26E). A tree (Stringybark) was recently cut down here, the stump is only a few inches above ground level, yet epicormic shoots are flourishing.
These shoots are soft and almost delicate-if any vegetation native to this country can be so described-but persitent given the dry conditions prevailing.
A nice set of pictures illustrating this persistence of life in the face of fire,epicormic growth is most noticeable after a fire has been through eucalypt forests, can be seen here.

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Monday, 12 March 2007

Shepp 2

Shepparton is a cow town. And a fruit town. It was also the home of Joseph Furphy, who, as Tom Collins, wrote "Such is Life". It is the capital of the Goulburn Valley, which produces much of Australia's dairy exports, AUD3 billion approx., based on irrigation. Drought is bad news in this town, which relies heavily on irrigation.

Not that you would know it unless you looked at the river and the lake. The parks around the Town hall are remarkably green and lush. And it is not just the cows.
Here is a whole herd of them, no milking required. Note the green grass, something quite rare these droughty days.

Cows do this to your weeping trees, trim them off at a regulation height, but are no good at topiary. This is on the way into town, off the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue mentioned in a previous blog. Note the lack of green grass here.
Just near the herd of cows is this tree, or rather two trees, Spotted Gums E. maculata, I think.
The tree sloping to the right is named Sarah, perhaps a common name in the area for a tree of this size and shape?
Very nice protruding valves on the fruit

And nearby is this rather small elm, its leaves just changing colour, as one would expect in late summer.
Shepp elms bear strange fruit-4 magpies sitting out of the sun. This must be a bird cafe. The birds didn't seem to be bothered by my camera waving at them.
Here are some leaves, in case I need to find a latin name for this tree, in keeping with my style.

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Sunday, 11 March 2007

Shepp 1

Shepparton, (lat-37 22 long 145 25E), is about 190km north of Melbourne. They are having a fortnight long festival, and among the shows was a wood show held in the town hall. Outside the entrance of the town hall is this tree, which I haven't identified as yet, hence the folowing pictures under the fold.

Young flower buds:

This year's mature flower buds and last year's fruit.

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Calder Woodburn 1917-1942, in memoriam

This long weekend we went north to visit the in-laws, mainly to collect a Merc 250, 1976 model absolutely spotless, which will be used by my wife. This car will put a stop to my morning walks to the Mitcham station to collect the other car, which have been the source of a few trees. On the Goulburn Valley highway south of Shepparton, Shepp to the locals, is the Calder Woodburn Memorial Avenue, a 20 km long memorial to servicemen who died during WW2, which was initially a memorial by his father to Calder Woodburn who died in Europe on April 2nd 1942. The avenue once contained 2457 eucalypts, however time and roadworks have seen some gaps appear.

Looking south, one can see the four lines of trees. Most avenues of honour in Victoria date from after WW1, and consist of mainly exotic species. Ballarat has one of the most beautiful of the WW1 avenues, there is another on the way into Maryborough. These memorial avenues often have brass plaques commemorating individuals.
Looking south on the east side of the avenue: trees in the avenue are mainly River redgum E. camuldulensis, Sugar Gum E. cladocalyx, Western Grey Box E. microcarpa, Spotted Gum E. maculata, Yellow Box E. melliodora, Sugar Gum E. cladocalyx, and Ironbark E. sideroxylon.
Bark of E. cladocalyx, Sugar Gum. In the background is a Western Grey Box E. microcarpa.

The avenue has begun to self perpetuate, with a good growth of seedlings of all species now appearing between the more mature trees. This is probably because the local council doesn't mow or spray the avenue between the trees, and the grass is quite long, so a good mulch and protection produces new growth.
However, many trees are infected with mistletoe Amyema pendula, which in eucalypts has a very distinct form and colour. Some say it is not destructive and that it provides a useful source of food for animals and birds.
The leaves of the mistletoe are very similar to the host species, and they seem to produce a flower capsule which can be seen in the first closeup of the leaves. You can read more on mistletoe here.

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