Big Manna Gum – King of this Forest.

DSCF4585In a broad, gently sloping drainage line near the western boundary of our property grows a big old tree; the largest on our place and perhaps the biggest tree on Boundary Hill.

It’s a Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) with a diameter (at breast height) of 1.75 m and a height of 37 m. Neither of these dimensions are particularly noteworthy in the context of eucalypt size, but a tree of this size, in this forest, represents an incredibly valuable resource for  all sorts of fauna, for example, Sugar Gliders. The tree has multiple ‘spouts’ (broken-off limbs with hollows) and other hollows along it’s trunk, big enough for larger possums, as well as Greater Gliders, though I haven’t seen them here yet. More on Manna Gums and  hollows.Trees with this many hollows, of this size, are extremely rare on Boundary Hill. It’s growing in quite a fertile, sheltered spot, surrounded by forest, though the occasional south-westerly gales are no doubt responsible for the tangle of large limbs around the base of the tree. It survived the recent 10-year drought seemingly unscathed, where many large Manna Gums on shallower soils did not.

Compared to younger Manna Gums, which often have smooth bark from the trunk to the upper branches, this tree’s trunk is clothed in rough, fibrous bark for much of its height, providing great habitat for a host of invertebrates and their vertebrate predators. The tree’s crown isn’t particularly large, as is the case with most forest eucalypts, but seems healthy enough. The crown is home to a Little Eagle nest (Hieraaetus morphnoides), scarcely visible from the ground. Little Eagles, along with their larger cousins, Wedge-tailed Eagles, are the two most visible raptors living around Boundary Hill.

Thank goodness this tree was already old and full of hollows and not felled during the selective logging that’s taken place here over the last 50-100 years. Who knows how old the tree is; at 1.75 m DBH surely it’s well over 100 yo. Hopefully it has another 50 years in it, to allow some of the other large trees on the Hill to also develop large hollows.

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3 Responses to Big Manna Gum – King of this Forest.

  1. Maddy says:

    What are the manna gum’s predators?

  2. Hi Maddy, In this forest Manna Gums have many predators. Of course there are many insects that eat the leaves and woody tissues of these trees – beetles and their larvae, moth & butterfly larvae etc. There are also several leaf eating mammals that eat Manna Gum leaves – Common Ringtail Possums, Greater Gliders, Brushtail Possums and, of course, Koalas. Bert

  3. Maddy says:

    Thanks!

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