Our Bushland Diary

Thursday, July 30, 2009

indigenous trees of Ellenbrook

I thought I'd take a minute to list the many indigenous trees we have in our local bushland. Trees are an important part of the environment. They provide food, shelter, roosting and nesting sites for animals. They recycle nutrients in the soil and air. They act as windbreaks and provide protection for hundreds of smaller plants. The healthiest and most inviting suburbs around Perth seem to be, to me, the ones with the most indigenous trees.

So, here's our list of trees for Ellenbrook:

Eucalypts - we have four; Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), Marri (Corymbia calophylla), Coastal Blackbutt aka Pricklybark (Eucalyptus todtiana) and Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus rudis). Jarrah and Marri can grow to around 45m high, and live for hundreds of years. (Who said there are no big trees on the Swan Coastal Plain?) Pricklybark prefers dry hilltops, while Flooded Gum can be found growing on the edges of wetlands. This is a Pricklybark.

Paperbarks - we have two that reach a respectable tree size; Stout Paperbark aka Moonah (Melaleuca preissiana) and Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca rhaphiophylla). Average height is around 10m, but there are some enormous ones in Bush Forever Sites around the place. The largest ones have a girth measured in metres, and are likely to be hundreds of years old. Both species have small white flowers. This is a small Moonah in flower in December (top photo).
The big Moonah (photo under) shows how big they can grow - I estimate that one to be about 15m tall, and about a metre thick at eye level.

Banksia - we have five species that occur naturally; Candlestick Banksia (Banksia attenuata), Firewood Banksia (Banksia menziesii), Holly-leafed Banksia (Banksia ilicifolia), Swamp Banksia (Banksia attenuata) and Bull Banksia (Banksia grandis). The first two of these prefer dry conditions, and the others are usually found in or near wetlands. These five trees have overlapping flowering times throughout the year, so there's always at least one species in flower to keep the Honey Possums well-fed. Here's the Holly-leafed Banksia in its natural habitat, as "teenagers" - the adult trees are larger, more open and branched.

Sheoaks - there are two tree species; Sheoak (Allocasuarina fraseriana) and Swamp Sheoak (Casuarina obesa). Sheoaks have fine whispy branches, and when in flower these appear to be tinged red. The tall whispy tree in the middle of the photo is Swamp Sheoak.

And lastly, we have our famous WA Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda), the world's biggest mistletoe. The distinctive orange flowers appear in December. The soft fleshy leaves feel cool to touch on a hot summer's day. Here's a photo:

Fourteen species altogether! Please comment if I've left any out...

1 comment:

  1. We could also add one of our wattles - Orange Wattle (Acacia saligna). This can grow as a tree up to about 9m tall, has a beautiful weeping habit and yellow pom-pom flowers in the second half of the year.