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Springtime in the bush

The Tasmanian bush is not known for its variety of colours. Even though there are over 600 species of eucalyptus tree, en masse they all look very much alike, and the different shades and shapes of the foliage all blend into a uniform shade of green – beautiful in its own way, but still….just green. In the spring however, the bush comes alive with colour and the wild bush has a huge variety of blossoms, the most notable being the vibrant, fluffy yellow blossoms of the native acacia tree – the wattle (“this ‘ere’s the wattle, it’s the emblem of our land; you can stick in a bottle you can ‘old it in your ‘and” goes the irreverent poem I remember from my teen years that goes on to make politically incorrect jokes about beloved Skippy the bush kangaroo from the popular TV series).

Another acacia that is well-adapted to the dry eucalyptus forests is the Tasmanian blackwood, a gnarly, pale–

green leafed tree that is renown for its timber as a fine furniture-quality wood. It’s pale, creamy blossoms and darker green flat leaves create contrast to the brilliant yellow blossoms and pale green wispy leaves of the wattle. So in early spring the bush turns a gorgeous yellow, including, in many places the incongruous sight of brilliant yellow daffodils – one of only a few flowers that the native animals leave alone!

Later in the spring and into summer the flowering eucalyptus trees continue to surprise and delight – so much variety in trees that I have always thought of as just year-round green. But some of the colours are stunning – the bright red blossoms of the red-flowering gum and the creamy white of the Tasmanian blue gum. There are many other eucalyptus blossoms that add to the variety – purple, orange, pink and red. Many of these are native to mainland Australia and have been introduced to Tasmania many years ago - they tend to add colour to the more urban areas. In the bush though, as spring turns to summer, smaller native bushes and flowers delicately colour the landscape on this beautiful island.

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