2021 Winner – The “Sexy” Gimlet Eucalyptus salubris
We love the glorious shimmering bark of the E. salubris, the Gimlet or if Michael Whitehead of Melb Uni had his way, the “sexy gum”. For the second year in a row a West Australian eucalypt has taken out the mantle of Eucalypt of the Year not in any small part due to the social media efforts of the wonderful Richard McLennan and his “Gimlet Groupies”.
We were pleased to have the Gimlet highlighted as a means of raising awareness to the plight of the Great Western Woodlands. Dean Nicolle (2020 Fellow, 2015 Dahl Medallist and owner of the incredible Currency Creek Arboretum) shared the following via twitter on National Eucalypt Day:
“Eucalypt of the Year 2021 is under serious and immediate threat from climate change.
1) Despite being one of the most widespread eucalypts in WA, the gimlet is fire-sensitive (non-resprouting and killed by fire), relying on seedling recruitment to re-establish following fire.
2) Healthy gimlet populations require long fire intervals (many decades) to establish canopy-stored seed banks. Post-fire seedling establishment can then occur under suitable conditions.
3) A gimlet population near Balladonia, 14 months post-fire, with all adult plants killed by fire has no seedling regeneration due to lack of rain. This species has no soil-stored seed bank.
4) Increasing fire frequency and decreasing rainfall (both associated with climate change) is therefore significantly impacting populations of gimlets, and appears to be causing localised extinction of the species.
5) There are about 70 fire-sensitive species of eucalypts like the gimlet in southern WA. All are increasingly threatened by a rapidly changing climate.”
Image courtesy of Richard McLennan