Ive been getting a lot of technical emails from my web server about inodes & load speeds & VPS that I don’t understand but the general gist is I have way too many photos of trees on this website. Although Im still uploading photos with 800 pixels the size & quality of these pictures are being compromised by a process wordpress calls ‘smushing’. The upgrade to VPS (virtual private server) will give more space but will cost a lot more to run. Since there are no customers/clients/advertising/sponsorships I would be paying for this myself. To cover this I have decided to cut down the Trees in Trees, slice them up & sell them as 2 tone cheese boards ….( JOKE )
Dr Jonathan Palmer from BEES @ UNSW has got the carbon dating results back from the Waikato lab in NZ and the small Quinine guest is thought to be about 20 years old. This means 1 of 3 things: 1 – Quinine trees have an inbuilt dormancy mechanism built into their seeds or their roots get established many years before the shoots. Or 2 – the Gomilaroi people did not plant the seeds and the Trees in Trees are a natural phenomenon. Or 3 – the carbon dates are wrong. Im having another slice of the same Quinine tested by DirectAMS carbon dating in the US so that will give cover that. Like the website, carbon dating isn’t cheap so unless we get institutional backing we will be at the end of this path of inquiry.
So lets look at option 1. Wilga seeds are hard to germinate so I contacted a company selling them online (Gardeners & Graziers) & they said only about 1 % of fresh seed germinates. This may also apply to quinine & the other dozen other guest species. I think this is a strategy Aust. native seeds have developed to cope with a wildly variable climate. If all your seed germinated in the first year & it turned dry, the seedlings would shrivel & die. If a certain percentage of seed had different requirements then just getting wet, germination would be spread out over many years and a greater % would survive. For example some seeds like banksia require fire, some just smoke & ash in the water. Gardeners use techniques like scratching or sandpapering or covering with boiling water (scarification) or putting seeds in the fridge / freezer for a time (stratify) them before planting. Some seeds also need to go through the guts of birds or animals and are scarified by the digestive acids.
This brings us to option 2 – the Trees in Trees are a natural phenomenon & its just that no one has got excited about them before. I have always found it interesting that Aboriginal people immediately think the TinTs are a cultural thing whereas whitefellas assume birds are responsible. This different way of thinking is known as subconscious racial bias and has repercussions for the black lives matter movement worldwide (since this blog is about CMTs & not politics that is all I will say) After getting the dates out of Waikato from Jonathan about 10 days ago the argument for birds/bats/ possums/koalas/ goannas pooping native tree seeds into the humus filled hollows of old gum trees & them growing there was sounding plausible. If this is whats happening here then surely its happening elsewhere? Am I the only weido wandering the the swamps of NthWest NSW photographing trees growing in other trees? Of all the farmers/traditional owners/ govt. employees of the LLS & DPI/ bush walkers/ tree lovers/ ecologists/arborists/botanists – am I the only one to notice some trees have 2 heads?
Something the rangeland ecologist Jen Silcock said in her 4 day whirlwind scartree tour sticks in my mind. She said some trees remain the same size for many years while they get their roots in order (that’s the gist not the actual quote). Now if your roots happened to be inside another tree then I expect that would take some time & negotiation with the host? We now know that roots do funny things like communicate with other roots in an underground network via fungi in what is referred to as the “wood wide web” The sharing of a trunk and root space must provide advantages to both trees in some symbiotic type relationship or these TinTs wouldn’t exist. What these advantages may be we will probably never know…. see above – subconscious racial bias. After all how many indigenous people sit on the ARC – Aust. Research Council – and the College of Experts that advise them to distribute research funds? Just wondering …..
Thanks to my Indig friends for keeping me up to date re research that is happening. Liz Warning tells me that Gidgee is the third slowest growing tree in the world at 1 mm per year (in a good year) Gidgee is found around Cumborah 10 ks up the road & much of Southern Qld. Also Penny Evans sent me a really interesting study on Indig. grains being deemed commercially viable in Nth NSW. Girls we will get there piece by piece & step by step XXXX