It’s nearing the end of a very long day… About an hour ago, I said good-bye to my husband as he departed for a week-long business trip to Australia. Sadly, he probably won’t get to see much more than whatever is visible from his hotel, but I still hope he manages to have a bit of an adventure and see a few cool sights during his travels.
On my drive home, I found myself thinking about Eucalyptus — a genus of tree that grows prolifically in Australia where it is a native. In southern California, these trees are planted so frequently and have thrived here for so many years that it’s hard for me to not consider them a permanent part of the landscape. And yet… there was a time when not a trace of Eucalyptus would have been found on this continent. Odd to think about.
This leaf could have been photographed anywhere.
In truth, it was just one of the many in the canyon that decorate the ground along the trails behind my house… but, it could have been Australia. How would you know the difference? A leaf is a leaf is a leaf.
This is a photo that could never be taken in Australia.
The multicolored trunk and peeling layers of bark wouldn’t be much of a stretch, but this particular Eucalyptus stands near our cabin and it is beautifully etched with the claw marks of one of the resident Black Bear (Ursus americanus). Despite the misleading name often attributed to the Koala, there are no bears in Australia.
Around here, the bears appear to regularly climb and mark the Eucalyptus trees. From the evidence I’ve seen, I gather that at least some of the time they are searching for Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) nests to ransack. A bee species which, by the way, originates from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Hmmm… always so interesting to ponder the increasing convergence of introduced and native wildlife here in California.
Well, I wasn’t really going anywhere with all of this… Sorry! Just musing to myself and trying to share a little something with y’all before I crash for the night. Wishing everyone an enjoyable weekend and hoping that nature figures in your plans somewhere!
[EDIT: After doing a bit more reading, I thought I should probably clarify that while they may all be casually referred to as “eucalyptus”, there are actually three potential genera — Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia — that make up this group of plants. I haven’t attempted to identify the various species of eucalyptus around my place…. yet! Perhaps that will be the subject of a future blog post.]