These towering majesties are a substantial part of the landscape in Tamborine. Like many in the Myrtle family they are difficult to identify without measuring leaves and examining flowers. Most of the trees we call Spotted Gums in the area are Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata. Unlike other species labelled citriodora, these ones are identified by their lack of
Important For Koalas And Other Native Species
They are an important tree for Koalas, functioning as shelter and a secondary food source. This means that they are not a preferred food source but form an important part of the diet, especially as larger primary
food source trees are harder to find.
They also provide food and shelter for gliders, possums and fruit bats, not to mention the birds that feast on the nectar and build nests in their branches. It is also important for beekeepers as it flowers abundantly many times during the year.
These termite resistant trees have brown or red heartwood and white sapwood with a natural greasiness that makes it respond well to machining. It is used for anything from bridges and wharves to cladding and tool handles to furniture and boats. Outdoor furniture made from this wood has consistently won domestic and international awards, which is not surprising when you consider its lovely grain and ready acceptance of
paint, stain and polish.
A War With Vines
In Spring, our landscape is structured by tall straight trunks in many hues from salmon pink to green, as Spotted Gums shed their bark. This shedding isn’t just about growth, it’s also a defence against the encroaching rainforest in marginal habitats. As the vines try to climb up to the canopy, threatening
to strangle their strong trunks and invade their foliage, the Spotted Gum sheds the very surface that they cling to. As an added line of defence the bark that litters the forest floor is highly flammable while the trees themselves are fire resistant. Shedding right before fire season, means that the vines are threatened by bark fuelled fires while the Spotted Gums stand
victorious, protected from all but the most ferocious infernos.
For more information on these sentinels of our village, please visit https://janegrowsgardenrooms.garden/2021/09/17/plant-profile-spotted-gum-corymbia-citriodora-subspvariegata/.
By Jane Frost (Jane Grows Garden Rooms)
Jane is a high school teacher. Her recent accomplishments include establishing the Ecology and Sustainability Program at local schools,
completing courses in Permaculture and Natural History Illustration, and creating social media sites to encourage: biodiversity, the use of native plants and edible gardens.