Monday, April 4, 2016

Drouin's Giant

Eucalyptus cypellocarpa is the scientific name for the Mountain Grey Gum. The Mountain Grey Gum is the dominant indigenous remnant tree giant found in the streets and parks of Drouin and in other towns and localities of Baw Baw Shire. An early colloquial name was the Monkey Gum, so called for the ‘monkey bears’ or Koalas that often like to inhabit the species.

‘Cypellocarpa’ is derived from the Greek for ‘cup shaped fruit’. A lot about a tree can sometimes be learned just from its name.

It is ironic that early settlement of the district was impeded by the dense forests and giant trees that had to be cleared for pastoral runs and urban development. We now treat these huge specimens as valuable assets.

The Mountain Grey Gum is a tall, usually straight, single trunked tree that prefers to grow on the wetter slopes of the ranges. The trunk is mostly smooth throughout with some fibrous rough bark at the bottom and sometimes with shredded strips from the upper regions. Usually the trunk is pale grey with whitish/yellowish/creamy streaks. The curved lance-shaped leaves can be very large, up to 20 or 30 cm long.

Widespread throughout eastern Victoria on the well drained coastal slopes of the Divide; the Mountain Grey Gum is sometimes cultivated as a shade tree and for farm forestry and is considered a fast growing species.

The flowers, fruit, leaves and bark of the Mountain Grey Gum provide ideal food and habitat for a large range of birds, invertebrates and mammals. Many of Drouin’s street trees contain hollows that are regularly occupied by a range of species.

The Significant Trees of Drouin group cited almost one hundred E. cypellocarpa with a trunk girth greater than 4 metres, many of them taller than 30 metres – giants in any terms.

This article was contributed by The Significant Trees of Drouin project team.

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