Royal Botanic gardens melbourne

Firewheel tree
Golden barrel cactus
De Laubenfels' araucaria

The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne were pure magic! Such beautiful surroundings with a huge variety of trees meant that my Saturday tree walk in the middle of March 2016 fired me up enough for another visit on Sunday. What with exploring Melbourne, sampling restaurants, enjoying a concert and time with friends, it was an extremely busy but very memorable visit to this fascinating city.

As with many of my walks where time is of the essence, these walks were more of a run! Thanks must go to my guide, Shane, who knows the park well and kept us going at a good pace so that I could take in as much as possible.

I'm going to combine the best of both days in the photos below! 

The cloudier pics were taken on the Saturday; I had wonderful sun on Sunday! Both types of weather presented me with some photographic challenges and taught me a lot (in hindsight!) about how to take tree pictures. Still, you could say I had the best of both worlds weather-wise.

I've divided my pics into three groups:

  • Trees native only to Australia
  • Trees of the Araucariaceae family which also includes some Australian trees
  • International trees! Including some Australian trees which are also found elsewhere.

native Australian trees

Saturday's walk began by the Children's Garden, where I encountered my first Brachychiton rupestris - or Queensland bottle tree:

Brachychiton rupestris MelbourneQueensland bottle tree
Brachychiton rupestris barkBottle tree bark
Brachychiton rupestris folliclesBottle tree follicles
Brachychiton rupestris trunkBottle tree trunk

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Now some gum trees to enjoy! This is Eucalyptus pauciflora, the snow gum, native to Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania:

Eucalyptus pauciflora
Eucalyptus pauciflora leaves

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Syzygium luehmannii is the small-leaved water gum, or riberry - or the small-leaved lilly pilly!

It's native to New South Wales and Queensland:

Syzygium luehmannii
Syzygium luehmannii leaves and berries

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Eucalyptus pulverulenta - the silver-leaved mountain gum - New South Wales

Eucalyptus pulverulenta
Eucalyptus pulverulenta - close-up of leaves

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Eucalyptus rossii - inland scribbly gum - New South Wales

Eucalyptus rossii trunk
Eucalyptus rossii tree

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Meet Corymbia ficifolia 'summertime' - a grafted red flowering gum grown in the Botanical Gardens:

Corymbia ficifolia 'summertime'
Corymbia ficifolia 'summertime' buds and fruitFruit - or gum nuts - on the left; buds on the right

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Myrsine howittiana, the brush muttonwood, has a rather fascinating trunk. Native to Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Myrsine howittiana trunkBrush muttonwood trunk
Myrsine howittiana treeBrush muttonwood tree

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Banksia serrata, saw banksia or old man banksia is one of the most interesting Australian trees!

Native to Victoria and New South Wales it can grow as a shrub as well as a tree, and is easily recognizable from its long, saw-toothed leaves, the knobbly bark, as well as the woody seed pods which are called follicles:

Banksia serrata leaves
Banksia serrata follicles
Banksia serrata bark

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Here's a tree with variegated leaves and beautifully coloured bark: Lophostemon confertus 'Variegatus' - the brush box, or Queensland box:

Lophostemon confertus 'Variegatus' tree
Lophostemon confertus 'Variegatus' bark
Lophostemon confertus 'Variegatus' leaves

the Araucariaceae family

Since my return from Australia I have become very interested in the family of trees called Araucariaceae. And now I'm kicking myself that I didn't take more photos of these trees at Melbourne Botanic Gardens. I'll just have to go back and try again!

Araucariaceae include the Norfolk Island pine and the famous Wollemi pine. You can find out a little more info and some of the history of this tree family on the Araucariaceae page of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

Although I missed a couple of species, let's take a look at the ones I was lucky enough to observe, starting with a favourite tree of mine and always a pleasure to see - Araucaria heterophylla, the Norfolk Island pine.

I spotted two Norfolk Island pines in the gardens, one old, one newer! This first tree was planted in 2009:

Araucaria heterophylla tree
Araucaria heterophylla bark and branchlet... and an older, giant version!

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Here's another tree from the Araucariaceae family - Agathis robusta, the Queensland kauri, planted in the gardens in the 1800s:

Agathis robusta tree
Agathis robusta view up to crown
Agathis robusta bark

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Araucaria montana is the mountain araucaria and is native to New Caledonia. I love the shape of this particular specimen as it looks as though it's pretending to play a thousand violins at once!

Araucaria montana
Araucaria montana leaves

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Araucaria subulata, the narrow-leaf araucaria, comes next. This species is also from New Caledonia:

Araucaria subulata trunk and branches
Araucaria subulata leaves
Araucaria subulata bark

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Our next tree has a very distinctive semi-circular crown even from a distance!

Can you guess what it is?

Araucaria bidwillii crown

Correct!

It's Araucaria bidwillii, the bunya pine or bunya bunya as I have heard it called, an Australian tree from Queensland.

I much enjoyed seeing many bunya pines during my time in Oz - they always make me smile :)

Araucaria bidwillii tree
Araucaria bidwillii in the sun!
Araucaria bidwillii leaves
Araucaria bidwillii bark

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Wollemia nobilis - the Wollemi pine

A young Wollemia nobilis

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Araucaria muelleri, New Caledonia - planted by HRH Princess Margaret the Countess of Snowdon, 25th October 1975

Araucaria muelleri
Araucaria muelleri branches

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Araucaria cunninghamii - hoop pine, New South Wales, Queensland, New Guinea

Araucaria cunninghamii leaves
Araucaria cunninghamii bark

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Araucaria laubenfelsii  - De Laubenfels' araucaria - New Caledonia, "listed on the National Trust register of significant trees of Victoria"

Araucaria laubenfelsii
Araucaria laubenfelsii leaves

international trees!

Ficus obliqua, the small-leaved fig, has small leaves and small yellow fruit, too:

Ficus obliqua leaves and yellow fruit

But it also has a huge trunk!

Ficus obliqua trunk

This small-leaved fig has a buttressed trunk; side roots grow out from the trunk to help buttress or support the tree as well as nourish it.

There's certainly quite a bit of action going on in my close-up below:

The tree is native to New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the south-west Pacific!

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This Erythrina crista-galli, the cockscomb/cockspur coral tree, boasts an incredible shape:

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Dracaena draco - dragon tree, azores, cape verde, Canary Islands, Madeira

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Stenocarpus sinuatus: the firewheel tree and as impressive as its name impies!

Here is the first firewheel tree I met at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne:

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Pinus patula - the Mexican weeping pine - "planted by Her Imperial Majesty the Shahbanou of Iran  24th September 1974"

more memories from the royal botanic gardens melbourne

Just for fun: some of my other pics from Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens, including mystery plants and flowers and wonderful views!

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› Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne

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