Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tall gum trees

I drive through this forest twice a week on my way to work. I am always amazed by these tall gum trees, they are so beautiful. Before settlers started clearing the land for grazing 219 years ago (see last week's pasture), the region was covered with them.
The generic term eucalyptus comprises more than seven hundred species of trees (and a few shrubs), which dominate the Australian native landscape. Eucalyptus can be found in almost every region of the Australian continent, having adapted to all of its climatic conditions; in fact, no other continent is so characterised by a single genus of tree as Australia is by its eucalypts.
They are often called gum trees because many species of the family (but not all) exude copious sap from any break in their bark. Unfortuately the gum can't be used to make tyres or chewing-gum!
And one very important thing: eucalypts are not deciduous trees, they are evergreen. I took this photo yesterday but it would look identical at any time of the year. This is why autumn is so unconspicuous here.

Je passe par ici deux fois par semaine pour aller travailler. Je suis toujours épatée par ces grands eucalyptus. Avant que la terre ne commence à être défrichée par les premiers colons il y a 219 ans (résultat : le pâturage de la semaine dernière), la région en était couverte.
Le terme générique d'eucalyptus comprend plus de 750 variétés d'arbres (et quelques buissons) qui dominent le paysage australien. S'étant adaptés à toutes les conditions climatiques, les eucalyptus sont présents dans toutes les régions d'Australie; de fait, aucun autre continent au monde ne peut caractérisé par une unique espèce d'arbre comme l'Australie l'est par ses eucalyptus. Les locaux les appellent souvent "gum trees" (arbres à gomme) à cause de la sève qui s'écoule abondamment de toute blessure de l'écorce. Mais celle-ci ne sert à faire ni des pneus, ni du chewing-gum !
Ah, et un détail important : les eucalyptus ne sont pas des arbres à feuilles caduques, ils restent verts toute l'année. Alors j'ai pris cette photo hier mais j'aurais pu la faire à l'identique à n'importe quelle époque de l'année. C'est pourquoi l'automne se voit peu ici.


photowannabe said...

What a nice way to go to work each day.
To answer your question about the trees we will have in our new house. I'm not sure of all of them but there is at least one of, peach, plum, pomagranete, cherry, almond, pear and a few which are mystery trees. There is no one to ask at this time. Hope the birds won't have completely eaten everything by the time we move in.

Olivier said...

tu as de la chance, cela doit etre agreable de passer sous ces arbres et l'ete cela doit rafraichir. belle photo qui donne bien cette impression de grandeur (presque infini). Pour les ecrivains australiens, tu ne m'as pas repondu. Les australiens ne savent pas ecrire de livres :o)))

GiuCe said...

it's a beautiful view to go to work... trees and sky are magic ^^

Ming_the_Merciless said...

What are gum trees? Does it have anything to do with chewing gum or glue? Or is it just a name?

Nathalie said...

Ming, they are eucalyptus trees but Australians tend tp call them gum trees because of their tendency to exsude copious sap from any break in the bark. Unfortunately nothing is done with the sap as far as I know...
Will add the info in the main commentary. Thanks for the question !

Peter said...

Lycky you are if this is the way to your job!! I guess it helps to put you in good (ore even better) mood when going there. Not many are that lucky!

Pod said...

i love them too. was surrounded by them in the mountains this weekend. beautiful!

RamblingRound said...

You certainly have a beautiful drive to work.

Han said...

Wow, you're lucky to be able to drive through that! I know I wouldn't ever get anywhere because I'd get lost in all those trees (I love to wander). I also like the story, it's very interesting. Thanks :)

delphinium said...

Quelle belle allée, ils sont immenses ces arbres à gomme. Presque plus grands que mes sapins. Je suis jalouse.

Abraham Lincoln said...

That would be a refreshing drive to work each day. TO be waved at by towering trees is a thrill people in the desert never get. Your explanation was also well done.

Chris & Deb said...

I've noticed in your last few posts that all the trees are green, even though it's autumn. Do some trees not drop their leaves at this time of year?

Annie said...

Hi Nathalie,

I imagine these woods smell wonderfully well.


Jilly said...

Just beautiful, Nathalie. How I love (as you know) the native gum trees - and miss them.

A beautiful photograph. Thankyou for posting it.

NDS said...

is this the tree that kookaburra sits in --in the song? I'm sure i don't have his name right, but we sang the song when we were little kids.

Nathalie said...

Chris you raise a very important point! Eucalypts are not deciduous trees, they are evergreen. I took my photo yesterday but I could take an identical one at any time of the year. This is why autumn is so unconspicuous here. Will add that in the main commentary, thanks!

Norman said...

In the bush, Nathalie, eucalypts had the nickname of "widowmwkers" because of their propensity to dop enormous boughs without any warning. I was once only 15 feet (or should I say 5 metres nowadays?) from an enormous bough of almost two feet in diameter, when it crashed down. No wind, no warning. My reflexes were always good, but had it been above me, I'd never have moved in time.

I'm surprised that our current obsession with not touching any trees hasn't resulted in more fatalities in urban areas. An old timberworker friend who lives near me [in suburbia] often comments on how long it will be before a eucalypt overhanging our local school bus stop drops a bough on the kids. Because the tree is partly on Council land, partly on Education Dept land. Thus, whenever he raises the issue, it's able to be completely ignored.

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