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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

2020 Winner - The Stunning Illyarrie - Eucalyptus ethrocorys

2020 Winner - The Stunning Illyarrie - Eucalyptus ethrocorys

It’s one of the most distinctive of all the eucalypts, with its dark red bud caps, bright yellow flowers arranged in four tufts, and heavy, woody fruits. It’s totally unique, and not closely-related to any other species of eucalypt.

You can find the Illyarrie in its native home on the west coast of Australia, between Perth and Shark Bay, where it grows on almost pure limestone. However, it’s often planted ornamentally in cities such as Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Alice Springs. The species is very tolerant of drought and rapidly responds to fire by reshooting new growth from the trunk and branches.


2019 Winner - The Tenacious Snow Gum - Eucalyptus pauciflora

2019 Winner - The Tenacious Snow Gum - Eucalyptus pauciflora

For many, the image of Snow Gums, with their limbs, over which reds, whites, yellows, greens and greys flow like rivulets, partially buried under snow or in bent, windswept shapes on saddles, is synonymous with the Australian high country; yet this species grows from southern Queensland to Tasmania in diverse environmental conditions. Many Snow Gums will never see snow, though all will be dusted with their own snowfall of simple white flowers (the specific name pauciflora (‘few flowers’) is a misnomer). Across latitudes and altitudes, the species explores many forms. As well as the twisted mallee form synonymous with the windy, scorching or frosted high country, the species can grow as a thick, single-trunked forest tree up to 30 m.




2018 Inaugural Winner - the Majestic River Red Gum - Eucalyptus camaldulensis

2018 Inaugural Winner - the Majestic River Red Gum - Eucalyptus camaldulensis

With the most widespread distribution of any eucalypt in Australia, the river red gum is one of our best known Australian plants and has been celebrated in art, music, poetry and prose.

In flooded rivers, their roots protect young fish from predators, while high in the branches birds and possums play.  A scar or broken bough becomes a hollow home for marsupial, reptile or bird and submerged logs host giant barramundi and Murray cod.




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