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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Figs; stand out and be recognised

One of the main reasons why figs in Southeast Queensland have such a significant role as historical markers of important phases of white settlement and agricultural development is simply their physical size relative to the vegetation around them.

I have written before how well they stand out on Google Earth pictures and how (relatively) easy it can be to locate significant trees from your fact it much more the case that we use such aerial photography after we have actually seen a tree 'in the bark'.

Large spreading canopied trees that were both reliable and rapid in their growth have always been desirable on rural properties especially when the vast majority of the vegetation has been removed to permit the particular production process of the farm to progress.

Long after the farm buildings have collapsed into disrepair or been entirely removed, the large dominant figs are often the only remaining reminder of what was once there....and with a little forethought...they can be retained within whatever the current passing phase of landscape use is proposed....(Of course with even less forethought - they are often severely damaged or destroyed)

There can be little doubt that children growing up with such a wonderful natural adventure playground in their midst will develop into adults with different perspectives on the natural world than those who have experienced a far more artificial backdrop to their childhood.

Figs have often been planted onto the stumps of felled Eucalyptus or other previously dominant canopy trees around the farmstead, taking advantage of their epiphytic growth characteristics, their amazing vine like root systems that envelope and swallow anything they encounter.

Of course these remarkable characteristics did not go unnoticed by the early planners and architects of our emerging towns and cities.....but more of that in another post...