May 25, 2009

Blue Gum Blues

"The hated Tasmanian blue gum tree — better known as a variety of eucalyptus — has been blamed for virtually every evil short of snatching babies out of strollers […]" (the lead sentence from a front page story in today's SF Chronicle).

To an Australian, that seems a little rough, but it's essentially true (if nothing else the blue gums certainly contribute disproportionately to bush fires (brush fires) here due to the way they drop their branches and bark, and the various flammable oils they produce). Out here in the SF Bay Area, as the article says, gums "breed like rats", and you can't help noticing gum trees are everywhere, especially on the hillsides. That little thrill of recognition and familiarity disappears after a while when you realise they're deeply destructive alien species brought over here during and after the gold rush, and have basically taken over the coastal hills in large parts of California — even the native coastal Redwoods don't do as well as the gum trees. So you learn to grit your teeth and ponder your loyalties every time you walk through the many beautiful tall groves of blue gums here, and not to get too bent out of shape over your breakfast bagel or laptop latte by articles like that.

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At 7/15/2009 3:30 pm, Blogger Spike said...

Email them a picture of lantana feasting on the Straylyan bush. That'll learn 'em. Or something.

At 7/15/2009 9:19 pm, Blogger Jimmy Little said...

We already have lantana feasting on Australian (and other) stuff here. Need something more convincing, I think (like our Governator doing something imaginative with a blue gum) :-).

At 7/15/2009 11:52 pm, Blogger Spike said...

*imagines Governator doing something imaginative with blue gum trunk*

It's going to take me a while to get that out of my head :)


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