Friday, 4 July 2008

A bottler of a tree

This tree is only found within 40 km of Airlie beach. It's a Bracychiton compactus and the locals have called it the Whitsunday Bottle Tree. It's currently listed as 'rare' under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act (1994).

The local council decided last year to survey the distribution of this tree, to determine whether it is under threat from urban development. Of course it is, but luckily it is growing in several reserves and is easy to propagate. One tree we found is on a new subdivision, sprouting pink tape and barrier cloth. Will it survive? We saw another at Shute Harbour in a reserve, and another, pictured below, beside a car pull-over.

The remarkable thing about brachychitons is that they store water in their bottle-shaped stems. Some of the bottle trees in northern Australia are remarkable shapes and we (and tourists) love them. The Whitsunday Bottle Tree isn't as big or as spectacular but still it should be protected. If I owned the block of land below I'd be making a highlight of the tree in my garden. I hope the new owners do as well.

1 comment:

Dave said...

That's a pretty interesting story. I hope more people protect them from development.