March 26 - April 1 2023: Issue 577
Angophora Costata Named Eucalypt Of The Year: The Tree One Of Our Local Reserves Is Named For - A Celebration
Australia’s 2023 Eucalypt Of The Year Is The Angophora Costata!
Announced by Eucalypt Australia on March 23 2023, and during its 10th year, this wonderful tree can be seen throughout our area and is so loved one of our early Reserves is named for one example, which sadly fell back to earth, after a long life, just last year in Angophora Reserve at Avalon Beach - which runs as the History feature this Issues as a special extra celebration.
It’s no wonder the tree is so well-loved, with those fantastically wiggly limbs that capture the imagination, and that smooth red bark that calls out to be touched!
Known as kajimbourra by the Dharawal people, the Sydney Red Gum is synonymous with the sandstone escarpments of the Greater Sydney region, where it grows in woodlands on shallow, sandy soils. Also known as the Smooth-barked Apple, the species is distributed from Bodalla on the NSW South Coast to Coffs Harbour (NSW North Coast), from the coast to adjacent inland ranges. Interestingly, there are disjunct populations on sandstone escarpments west of Townsville, suggesting a wider historic distribution.
Many Australians will be most familiar with the Sydney Red Gum as an important part of the urban forest in our cities and towns. With its broad trunk, attractive bark and spreading form, the species has been planted widely across suburban parklands and streetscapes and is beloved well beyond its natural range.
The genus Angophora is closely allied to Corymbia and Eucalyptus (family Myrtaceae) but differs in that it usually has opposite leaves and possesses overlapping, pointed calyx lobes instead of the operculum or lid on the flower buds found in those genera. So it is not, strictly speaking, a eucalypt.
Angophora costata, or Smooth-barked Apple, is a large, wide, spreading tree growing to a height of between 15 and 25 m. The trunk is often gnarled and crooked with a pink to pale grey, sometimes rusty-stained bark. The timber is rather brittle. In nature the butts of fallen limbs form callused bumps on the trunk and add to the gnarled appearance. The old bark is shed in spring in large flakes with the new salmon-pink bark turning to pale grey before the next shedding.
The leaves are dark green, lance-shaped, 6-16 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. They are borne opposite each other on the stem. The flowers are white and very showy, being produced in large bunches on terminal corymbs or short panicles. The individual flowers are about 2 cm wide with five tooth-like sepals, five larger semi-circular petals, and a large number of long stamens. The seed capsules are goblet shaped, 2 cm long and as wide, often with fairly prominent ribs. The usual recorded flowering time is December or January, but at the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra the species flowers for about one month between early January and early February. The tree has a handsome, rugged ornamental appearance and its young red tips are often used in floral arrangements.
The Sydney Red Gum has this in common with this year’s runners-up, the Lemon-scented Gum (Corymbia citriodora) and Red Flowering Gum (Corymbia ficifolia). Each are so widely and commonly planted they have become part of the Australian psyche, at least in the south, where they evoke strong memories of childhood summers and days past.
But this year, it's our beloved angophora's turn to be lauded and applauded - if you want to see them persist, and have the room, plant a tree - some local instances:
On a local street
In McKay Reserve
Grand Old Tree Of Angophora Reserve Falls Back To The Earth
Geoff said; ''it was noticed yesterday (Friday August 5th) that the 450 years old Angophora costata has decided it ’s too tiresome to stand up any longer, so she fell over probably with the assistances of the strong westerlies we’ve had lately.
I know you’ve got some pics of her when she was young and beautiful but here are a couple of pics of her yesterday.
She was really hard to shoot because of her massiveness.
Geoff provides: ''This photo shows the official opening of the Angophora Reserve on March 19th, 1938 by Sir Phillip Street (KCMG). Much of the groundwork to enable the purchase of the land by the Wildlife Preservation Society in 1937 was done by Thistle Harris. The reserve cost the Society £364 19 shillings and 7 pence (which converts to around 730 dollars!).'' - photo courtesy ABHS
Arthur Jabez Small and the Old Girl, pre-1954 - photo courtesy ABHS - Geoff Searl OAM
When the bush reserve was purchased in 1937 W.G. Kett, W.G. Stead and T.Y Harris were appointed trustees.
The NSW HRLV provides under Volume 4828, Folio 108:
The release of an 8 years old female back into Angophora Reserve after she had been bombarded by magpies. Taronga Zoo picked her up and nursed her back to health before the release on November 5th, 1989. Doug Bladen and Marita Macrae are in the background representing the Avalon Preservation Trust (now APA). Photo by Geoff Searl OAM
Geoff at Angophora Reserve - January, 2019