Eucalyptus and gum seeds - a fresh start - Botanical illustration

Maree Clarkson

Ballito, South Africa

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Eucalyptus and gum seeds – a fresh start – Botanical illustration

Dec 2015
Ink and colour wash on Bockingford 300gsm
.
Notwithstanding the devastating veld fires that sweep through our property every winter (Tarlton, Gauteng, South Africa), I am always extremely pleased to see the Eucalyptus trees bounce back and sport brand new little branches with leaves after every fire.

Eucalyptus has become one of the most planted tree species in Africa in recent years. Globally, more than 80 countries have planted more than 4 million hectares of eucalyptus. The tree grows much faster than many other species, produces sizeable timber, poles for supporting electricity and telephone lines as well as scaffolding, and is rarely affected by dry spells.

Eucalyptus was introduced into South Africa as an exotic tree in the second half of the nineteenth century to meet the demand for wood destined for underground mining, for timber and firewood and also for ornamental purposes. They are popular with bee-keepers for the honey they provide. However, in South Africa they are considered invasive, with their water-sucking capabilities threatening water supplies. They also release a chemical into the surrounding soil which kills native competitors. Eucalyptus seedlings are usually unable to compete with the indigenous grasses, but after a fire, when the grass cover has been removed, a seed-bed may be created. The following Eucalyptus species have been able to become naturalised in South Africa: E. camaldulensis, E. cladocalyx, E. diversicolor, E. grandis and E. lehmannii. I think my trees are E. grandis.

Eucalyptus is said to relieve pain, irritation, insomnia, malaria, venereal disease, bladder infections, cystitis, diphtheria, typhoid and dysentery,

I did this sketch while doing an inspection of our blue gum bush after a huge fire we had this past winter and besides the fact that the trees are OK, bright green new little grass shoots were already peeping through the charred landscape!


31st December 2015 – FEATURED in “Country Bumpkin”
22nd July 2016 – FEATURED in “Image Writing”

Artwork Comments

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