Dear scartree fanciers
Im putting out a request for photos of mature native Australian trees living inside any eucalypt and their GPS data or general whereabouts. I don’t mean strangler figs or supplejacks or vines of any kind, just your average wilga/whitewood/mulga/myall types that have taken up residence successfully in another living tree – always a box tree as they hollow out with age. I expect it’s a bit hard to grow inside a solid tree as it’s already full? (insert smile emoji)
Getting information about these trees in trees (let’s call them TinTs for brevity or drop the ‘n’ & get instant media focus) has been difficult. Of all the Govt. agencies, universities, CSIRO, AIATSIS, ABC, herbariums, botanical gardens, botanical blogs, gardening blogs, science blogs I have contacted in the last few weeks only a couple have bothered to reply. The local land service (LLS) says “It is not an uncommon occurrence and can be seen with a number of small trees and bushes. I have also consulted with our land management team who also often see this during field site inspection across a number of vegetation communities. Our Aboriginal Communities officer is unaware of any cultural significance”.
Unfortunately I am not interested in small trees & bushes and MY cultural information from the local Indig community is that “they represent marriage ties to country in particular Nation boundaries in your case with the Big Warrumbool close …Youalaroi being dark skin & Gomilaroi being light skin, they are right way marriages” and this other take “Jane they are used to bury our people’s in to keep the dingoes away” Like Ringtrees, if there isn’t any anthropological or ethnobotanical info about TinTs… thats the end of the story for most Australian academics – ie if whitefellas haven’t written about it … it either didn’t happen or doesn’t exist (appropriate frown emoji here)
Here is another response,“Plants, including other trees, can germinate inside older trees. The centre of all trees, especially old trees, is dead whilst the outside of the tree is still alive and, once the centre decays sufficiently and accumulates nutrients from bird droppings and other sources, it can provide an ideal substrate for germination.” Yes thankyou Lesley, but can this accumulated substrate sustain the ‘guest’ tree long enough in an arid climate (17” ave. rainfall) with temps over 40 C for many weeks? I THINK this germinated (or transplanted) seedling needed help ie watering to survive. They may have germinated in many places in a good wet summer like this … even on the soles of your gumboots but we are talking about 100 + years of survival
So this is the situation: 1# I have only seen the doz or so TinTs along the old paleo channel (underground river ex Barwon) or near the Gingie rd (Walgett-Cumborah rd) that used to be the Aboriginal path pre 1840 (songlines); 2# If these TinTs occur naturally why are they not randomly distributed over the whole landscape? Why are they only growing near deep natural billabongs, native wells and campsites or a combination of these: 3# Why are they sometimes located very close together and in combination with many other CMTs; 4# Why are our institutions of knowledge in this country so disinterested? Why do they continually fail to credit ‘blackfellas’ with any sophisticated skills apart from the ability to survive and do very nice dot paintings & rock art?
I won’t be adding any more photos to this website because its full, so have to keep deleting old scars to add new ones. I’m a farmer with no Indig. ancestry but live in the most culturally rich land imaginable. There would be more surviving CMTs here than the whole of NSW combined yet no one sees them? Every old tree around my house is cultural & every blackfella political. Come and see the real thing …