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Friday, December 16, 2011

Brachychiton sp. Ormeau

For about 15 years there have been local environmentalists and botanists in the Ormeau and Gold Coast region of SE Queensland trying to tell people about the unique little bottle tree growing down there which was not (as many had thought) a hybrid but in fact a seperate species. I write little because the only ones I have seen were small despite having semi mature characteristics....apparently the tree will reach 30m in its preferred habitat of remanat rainforest  Ormeau Bottle Tree - very little of which is left in the Ormeau region. 

Ormeau location shown by the letter 'A'
A few days ago we happened to be travelling along Upper Ormeau Road and took time to photograph one of the Ormeau Bottle Trees which is growing right next to the road reserve.

It is a lovely little tree with very interesting features, easily confused with and mistaken for a Mango when driving along, it has mottled bark almost a pruniose surface to the stems.

The leaves are very variable in shape size and colour as the tree gets older, but on close examination you would quickly realise that this tree was a Brachychiton sp.

The location of the tree we looked at near the road edge was less than ideal given it is under transmission lines and has been cut repeatedly over the decades since the lines went in. We will make inquiries of the utility company to see if any bundling of cables is practical. It should be said though that despite the cutting the tree appears to be very healthy and vigorous.

There is a research program running  Research into rare Bottle tree to help direct conservation efforts, this is being funded by a large land developer in the region, we certainly hope that the research aids in protecting and increasing the population of this lovely local tree.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Remnant Veteran Eucalyptus tereticornis Coomera

This tree approximately 35m north of the Coomera River contains some of the largest diameter deadwood and hollow habitat I have ever seen in person. I have read about such habitat but never actually been in a tree that has such rare treasures.

Head and shoulders above its neighbours the remnant tree is clearly visible from the motorway

It can be clearly seen from the M1 motorway when travelling to or from Brisbane, in a landscape that has been completely transformed in the last 160yrs it is the last of the forest remnants in the region.

Coomera River ferry operating in 1920's (before the road bridge was built) looking south

Despite the amount of land clearing carried out in the first wave (1840-1890) the picture above indicates how much forest remained along the banks of the Coomera River in the 1920's, within 30yrs almost all of this vegetation had been removed to permit dairy farming and other agricultural practices.

Bridge construction (looking north) 1928
It is possible to identify the remnant tree in a photo of the bridge construction over the Coomera River from 1928.
Coomera River in the 1980's
By 1980 only a few paddock trees and lucky remnants remain across the region, still predating the M1 the picture does show the two smaller road bridges (both still present and in use today).

The tree today carries the scars from long past storm damage that tore out the top half of the tree, the upper canopy visible today is all regrowth from that traumatic event.

The hollow habitat held aloft comprises every imaginable combination of diameter sizes, entrance hole orientation and scale.

The noise from the resident (and visiting) birds is loud enough heard from the ground, but nothing to the volume generated when they are objecting to your presence up in the canopy.

We have put together a longer than usual video of this tree on our Youtube channel. We hope that the you find the additional time needed to download this 6min video worth the wait.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The tragedy of the roadside tree

 This video comes from Jill and Ted's tree-mendous Adventure

It would seem that in Britain just like here in Australia there persists a mistaken attitude towards trees that demonstrate veteran  characteristics of age. It would seem that until there is a greater understanding of the critical difference between plant and animal pathology this kind of disasterous action will be sadly repeated elsewhere.