Tag Archives: E Citriodora

Two more neighbourhood trees fall

When I got home last night I was in a  hurry.  It was a little while later that I saw what had happened.  One tree had vanished from the neighbourhood skyline completely.  Where previously there was a huge lemon-scented gum, now there is this.

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The other tree has been severely lopped.  It is the kind of lopping that takes place when no care needs to be taken.  The kind of lopping that means this tree will not be there when I get home from work today. This one, too, we believed had been saved from being felled by a government department.  Now it is to be felled by the property owner.

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This morning I came home from my run and there were many native birds flying through it and calling.  Tonight I expect there will be total silence and an uninterrupted view of the sky where once it stood.  Every single tree on that block will have been felled.  These were the two largest trees in the street where they stood.

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Speechless and sad.

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Ironbark identification saga continues

I’ve been working my Eucalypt identification skills overtime and discovered that there are at least 3 dark-barked (by which I mean their trunk bark is brown to grey to black) types of ironbark growing as street trees in my area.  The main two seem to be E Tricarpa and E Sideroxylon, but it appears I also have E Corynodes.  One of the reasons I’m feeling some confidence is because of the results I have had from the dye pot:

In order of appearance:

E Citriodora–not an ironbark, just for comparison!–(Goodwood); E Tricarpa (Goodwood); E Tricarpa (Black Forest)

E Corynodes (Black Forest); E Sideroxylon (Goodwood); E Sideroxylon (a different tree, in Goodwood)

I would have to say that the dye results are more consistent than my perception of the appearance of the trees! One happy outcome of paying more attention is that I have observed that at this time of year E Tricarpa (and some E Sideroxylons) have tiny buds in formation among the fresh young leaves, and this enables a confident identification as between them. E Tricarpa has buds grouped in threes and E Sideroxylon has buds grouped in sevens.  Sometimes fruits are so high in the tree I can’t tell, and sometimes the sample I am able to reach has umbels where some fruits have broken off but I can’t be confident how many.  So this discovery is a help to the person trying confidently to tell them apart–me, for instance.

E Tricarpa (see those tiny buds-in-formation?):

E Sideroxylon:

I need to go a little further afield to consider other variations on the theme, but for now I think I will consider wider-leafed ironbarks to be types I don’t know well, rather than assuming they are E Sideroxylon with a better supply of water and nutrients.  You know what they say about assumptions!

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Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Natural dyeing

Let the ironbark identification and dyeing experiments begin!

This tree is growing on the tram route in Goodwood.  It is clearly an ironbark, but I am less certain it is E Sideroxylon, and thus, I chose to investigate further… There are three ironbarks in a little cluster at this spot.  I think one of them is the same species and the other is so tall and branches so many metres above the ground that I may never know.

Here is the key feature of an ironbark: deeply furrowed bark which is impregnated with a sticky saplike substance (kino) which the tree produces in an effort to fend off attack by insects.

Here, more of a sense of the whole tree.  It is a very tall tree… and while the trunk might be secure from predatory borers, the leaves showed penty of signs of lerp and caterpillar attack.

The upper branches were paler, more of a cream colour, and covered in smooth bark which had begun to shed.  We had a very overcast day, but sometimes a natural dyer can’t wait!

The leaves smelled rather lovely while cooking.  I didn’t imagine when I set out on this dyeing path that cooking eucalyptus leaves smelled different, except in the obvious case of ‘lemon scented’!  They do though.  Some smell quite spicy and some smell like classic Eucalyptus oil.  E Crenulata was so overpowering it was voted out of the house for all future time.

As for identifying features, I collected plenty of leaves but could not reach any mature fruit.  Since this tree is growing among others that may not be the same species, picking fruit up from the ground sometimes just confuses the picture.  There were no visible buds or flowers–so, there are some limitations on identification.  Just the same, this tree appeared to bear fruit in pairs and threes (and not the classic 7 flower umbel of E Sideroxylon).  Tentatively, Euclid, hampered by my inadequacies in providing accurate observations, and the limitations in the data available, gives me E Tricarpa.

Here is the outcome of my dye sample (hemp/wool blend on the left and and wool on the right on each sample card).  E Citriodora on the left and E Tricarpa (tentatively identified) on the right… equally unexciting to my way of thinking.

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