Flower Friday – Aussie Gumnuts

Aussie Gumnuts - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Aussie Gumnuts – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Dried gumnuts are commonly used as ornamental decorations in Australia, as they come in a huge variety of different shapes and sizes. They were made famous when Australian writer and illustrator May Gibbs (who was born in England) wrote about two adorable gumnut babies, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie as the main characters of her books. The eucalyptus trees which produce these gumnuts inhabit forests which are incredibly flammable. They constantly drop dry leaves and peeled bark onto the floor around them, and together with the eucalyptus oil within, can quickly turn a small fire into a fast moving and raging inferno. Every summer Australia battles bushfires to some degree, but however devastating these fires are for the animals and people living in those areas, the trees are actually adapted to be the most successful survivors. The release of seeds from the gumnuts are triggered by fire, and they fall onto the nutrient-rich ash covered ground, free from competing plants and damaging insects. They will quickly repopulate the forests, and continue to be the dominating species of the Aussie bush. Happy weekend everyone!

Click here to see my other post on Eucalyptus Flowers.

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Flower Friday – Eucalyptus

Aussie Natives - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Aussie Natives – Photograph by Laura Lecce

For those of you wondering why my blog has been quiet lately, I have been on vacation to my home country of Australia. So on my return, I thought it fitting to share with you some photos I took along the way. Todays flower is from the eucalyptus tree. There are many varieties of these beautiful trees and shrubs and most are native to Australia. They play a vital role in  Australia’s natural environment and are found abundantly throughout the country, the only major environment they do not inhabit is Australia’s rainforests. Interestingly they release biochemicals which can influence the growth, reproduction and survival of other organisms, and thus inhibit other plant species growing nearby (this is called allelopathy). Planting these trees and shrubs in your yard are a great way to encourage Australian wildlife to visit your garden, as they attract and support a multitude of Australian wildlife. The most well known eucalyptus eater is the koala, but they also attract cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets and other parrots, gliders and possums. The flowers alone are beautiful to photograph, and even once they fall off, the remaining gum nuts still make for interesting subjects (seen in the photo below). Happy weekend everyone, its a long one in the USA… enjoy!

Eucalyptus - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Eucalyptus Gum Nuts – Photograph by Laura Lecce