Friday, December 7, 2012

Australian flora is the dead give-away

Just a couple of photographs today:

People rave about the Fall colours in the US or complain about the drabness of the Australian bush. Doubtless when they talk of the bush they're talking of the gun-metal greys and off-yellows of a eucalyptus forest, not the rainforest of New South Wales. For, let's face it, how rivetting is this? An Illawarra Flame Tree  (Brachychiton acerifolius), native of the NSW coast, spectacular at this time of year (summer) here in an inner-Sydney street.

Another flame tree from the adjacent street, prior to losing all its leaves. You may also see the dark brown, boat-shaped 10cm-long fruits if you look close enough.
Flame Tree in Hyde Park, CBD
We also saw a tree I'd never noticed before in Randwick yesterday - a Native Hibiscus, endemic to our coast, and I think the Randwick municipality's coast.

There is a certain sameness to Australian cities. I'm not talking of the glass and steel towers which make CBDs and downtowns all over the world 'samey', but that suburban architecture which means an Australian from just about anywhere in the country can recognise the caricatured suburbia of a Howard Arkley painting. But when you look at our flora you see regional difference. The banksias of the West are not like the banksias of the Sydney eastern suburbs. Jarrahs are different from Mountain Ash or Angophorae costatae or Ghost Gums (Eucalyptus papuana). You've got to look to our flora and not our accents or our architecture to really locate yourself in this country.

1 comment:

  1. G'day, Gordon!
    Have just stumbled upon your blog via a Google search - what else?
    Look, I know I'm leaving this rather late but I wonder if you would allow me to use your Illawarra Flame Tree photo at the top in my church's little magazine? I was going to use it in conjunction with the poem, Trees, which mentions God, so quite appropriate.

    I'm actually from the Illawarra but live in the Central West now and I don't have a decent shot of the IF. I mentioned 'rather late', well I'm trying to have the latest edition of our Trinity Herald finished tonight, Monday, or possibly tomorrow morning, 5th Dec.

    I'm a Blogster, too, though not what you would call a regular one. Here's my blog:

    Best wishes,
    Brian Ward, Grenfell, NSW.