National Eucalypt Day – Central Queensland Today

National Eucalypt Day – Central Queensland Today

Angophora costata by Katherine Sellers (katherine.sellers1 on Instagram).

GARDENING with Neil Fisher

Did you know that last Thursday was National Eucalypt Day?

If there is one plant that has a love hate relationship with the public, it would be the Gum Tree or Eucalyptus.

Yet the Eucalypt is an Australian icon that overshadowed the Jolly Swagman by a billabong, motivated Albert Namatjira to paint those beautiful outback landscapes and provided May Gibb’s inspiration for the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie story. And let’s not forget the Koalas in the old Gum Tree.

Eucalyptus trees are predominantly native to Australia, but they can also be found growing naturally in a few other countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, and New Guinea. In fact, of the 850 species of Eucalyptus, only 15 species are found outside of Australia.

Eucalyptus trees are Australia’s most common tree species and can grow up to 50 meters tall. California, South America and India all grew eucalyptus trees for paper, insect repellent, chest rub and cough drops.

In recent years, Eucalyptus has been reclassified from Eucalyptus to Corymbia, Angophora, Stockwellia, Allosyncarpia, Eucalyptopsis and Arillastrum.

As part of National Eucalyptus Day, voting is for Eucalyptus of the Year. This year, 25 Eucalyptus species were introduced, as well as other Eucalyptus species.

And the 2023 Eucalyptus of the Year is the Sydney Red Gum or Angophora costata.

The Sydney Red Gum is a striking evergreen tree with twisted pink, red to light gray trunk and branches and in spring it sheds its old brown bark to reveal salmon pink new bark.

Throughout the summer, many showy white flowers are produced in large clusters. The foliage of the Sydney Red Gum is very attractive with red new leaf growth that turns green as it matures.

It is a hardy tree that can grow up to 20m tall, a sunny location and tolerates both sea breezes and short periods of drought.

In second place is the beautiful Lemon Scented Gum or Eucalyptus citriodora. It is a local native of Central Queensland and is known worldwide for the tantalizing lemon flavor of its leaves.

The Lemon Scented Gum is grown all over the world. This striking gum tree with a smooth white to pink trunk can grow up to 30m tall and is best suited for large blocks of land or parks or even as avenue plantings.

Kershaw Gardens has one of the best displays of the Lemon Scented Gums growing around the Windmill near the Knight Street Car Park. In fact, the Kershaw Gardens have a number of beautiful Eucalypt species, including the Swamp Bloodwood, or Eucalyptus ptychocarpa.

Of all the Eucalypts that bloom at this time of year, none can match the floral splendor of the Swamp Bloodwood, or Eucalyptus ptychocarpa.

Forever immortalized in May Gibbs classic from the Gumnut Babes. Swamp Bloodwood is a small tree that usually grows between 4 and 8 m tall. The flowers are in clusters that range in color from white to purple, with the most common color being pink.

The Swamp Bloodwood is also recognized as having the largest leaves and some of the largest cocoanuts among all Eucalypts.

Then there is stately River Red Gum or Eucalyptus camaldulensis. This tree forms the magnificent upper skyline of the Rockhampton riverbank, with several specimens likely to have seen Rockhampton grow from a cluster of shanties to the vibrant city it is today. Its natural root structure makes it another valuable tree for stabilizing the river bank. Its trunk color can vary throughout the year from blue-grey to almost milky white. There are a number of the stately Eucalypt growing in the Kershaw Gardens.

Friends of the Gardens

Would you like to be able to garden, but you may live in a unit or have a very small block of land? Did you know that the Rockhampton Botanic has a Friends of the Gardens group?

The Friends of the Gardens are always looking for more volunteers, so if you want to keep gardening or are just looking for a fun way to spend a few hours with like-minded people, you can Friends of the Gardens President Contact Linda Brown 0438 263 288.

Today the Friends of the Gardens are holding a cash-only plant sale at Council’s Nursery at Kershaw Gardens located via Charles Street. The sale will run from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

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