Drum roll please! It’s almost time for Eucalypt Australia’s 2019 Eucalypt of the Year Award – an annual competition held on National Eucalypt Day, Saturday March 23.
Our ecologists, land managers and scientists have chosen some eclectic Eucalypts this year, as well as some perennial favourites.
Did you know that there are around 900 species of Eucalypts in Australia? These species are divided into three different groups: Eucalyptus (the largest group), Corymbia and Angophora. All three groups are eligible for Eucalypt of the Year.
So let’s check out these nominations shall we? (Nominations match photos from top to bottom.)
Kurt Tschirner – Boolcoomatta Reserve Manager
Easy, my favourite Eucalypt is E. ptychocarpa (Swamp Bloodwood). Or it was until the genus was changed to Corymbia! Found in the Top End and northern WA. Large leaves and capsules. Colour of flowers is variable but always stunning.
Matt Appleby – Senior Ecologist South East region
A Tassie endemic species - Eucalyptus vernicosa aka. Varnished Gum. It is the tiniest of eucalypts as it grows in subalpine areas and is barely the size of a small shrub in the wild.
Annette Dean – Tasmanian Reserves Manager
Eucalyptusa regnans – too big to hug! Can’t beat the tallest flowering tree in the world! Known as Swamp Gum in Tassie or Mountain Ash on the mainland.….
Bek Diete – Ecologist central Queensland
My vote for Eucalypt of the Year is for Smooth Barked Apple, Angophora leiocarpa. On Carnarvon Station Reserve, where I work, the trunks change colour with the season, ranging from pale creamy pink through to bright apricot. I love them.
Pippa Kern – Freshwater and Wetlands Ecologist
I am pretty partial to Flooded or Rose Gum, Eucalyptus grandis. They are so tall and majestic and strikingly white in the bush. When you walk past they make you look up and go 'Ahhh...'.
Simon Smale – Healthy Landscape Manager South West
Nothing subtle about my favourite – Corymbia ficifolia, the Flowering Gum. Very restricted natural distribution on the South Coast of WA, and probably best seen in its natural habitat at Ficifolia Road, Peaceful Bay, just west of Denmark. Pretty scrubby in its natural habitat, but it grows to impressive size and stature in lots of places where it’s been planted, including New Zealand, California, etc. Some of the newer cultivars are stunning. Pretty fond of our Red Moort Eucalyptus vesiculosa too, but you can’t go past C. ficifolia for an out-and-out show-off!
Kate Fitzherbert – Science Manager
Can’t really go past the River Red Gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, for one of the most awe-inspiring trees on the planet. This one is on Boolcoomatta in the Oonatra Creek – what an ancient monument to the glory of trees this is.
Matthew Taylor – Senior Philanthropy Executive
My local favourite is Angophora costata, the Sydney Red Gum, because of the sensational shapes of the trunks and the colours of the decorticating bark.
Rebecca Spindler – Executive Manager Science and Conservation
Choosing is too hard…. The Scribble Gum tells a modern story, the twists and turns of a Snow Gum gives us a complex history, the bark of an Angophora holds up a mirror to us all and Eucalypts altogether give us our place in the world. We are all gums… newcomers and old spirits. I don’t have a favourite among friends but have to choose the Silver Princess Gum, Eucalyptus caesia for the grace I wish I had, the elegance I envy and the protective limbs I revel in on a cold and windy day…