Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Burrawang Palms and Spotted Gums

Above: Spotted gums at North Rosedale
Above and Below: Burrawangs and Spotted Gums on the track near Tranquil Bay

Burrawang 'Palms' (Macrozamia communis) are not palms at all. They are cycads. The female plant produces large cones which look like upright green pineapples. The seeds are highly toxic if eaten untreated. Aboriginal people pounded and soaked the seeds in water for a week, changing the water daily. The pulp was then made into cakes and roasted over hot embers.
In the local language of the area (Dharug) they are known as bung-gou, ib-bur : 'nut' (Gott 1995 - http://www.anbg.gov.au/apu/plants/macrcomm.html)

Spotted Gums (corymbia maculata aka Eucalyptus maculata) thrive in the shallow slate and shale soils of the south coast. It's a durable hardwood, much used in flooring and furniture.
One of the delights of the south coast is walking through forests like this, with plentiful burrawangs at lower levels, and a canopy of spotted gums.

Contrast those tall, straight spotted gums with these below. These too are spotted gums, but are on the Flat Rock Island Headland track, near Myrtle Beach in Murramarang National Park. These have grown into gorgeous shapes because of a lack of soil nutrients.

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