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Decorticating bark of Eucalyptus regnans

Decorticating bark of Eucalyptus regnans

C038/3281

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

The base of a Mountain Ash tree (Eucalyptus regnans) in the Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia. The base of the tree is unusually forked at less than a metre of the ground; E. regnans usually has a clean trunk for tens of metres above soil level. The fork has collected long ribbons of decorticating bark shed from the higher reaches of the trunk, 30-40m above. Accumulations of shed bark represent a fuel source for bushfires. While very hot fires may kill many trees within a forest, they are also a trigger for seed release and germination for some eucalyptus species. The near ground-level branching of the tree here was more probably caused by wounding when it was a sapling, that resulted in the development of an epicormic shoot from the trunk.

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