Perth Bush Giants

When I am bird watching or looking at wildflowers, I am often looking at the sky, the shrubbery, the ground, the water or the tree tops. But I don’t often look at the trees! Sometimes a tree or group of trees will stand out and look simply stunning. Driving thru the Wandoo east of Perth, is one of those moments when I find myself looking at those beautiful trees!

Wandoo National Park east of Perth.

Trees provide the structure of our bush, food and shelter for birds and other animals, and in a hot summer, some very welcome shade.

Tawny Frogmouth camouflaging and resting near the trunk of a Flooded or Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus rudis).

A tree is biologically defined as a perenial plant, greater than 4 metres in height, with woody stems and branches and with a truck tightly bound to the earth. There is quite a variety of trees that are native to the Perth area. Some of those that are flowering in January are:

The Western Australian Christmas Tree or Moojar (Nuytsia florabunda) is the largest parasitic plant in the world! Moojar is a highly significant plant to the Noongar people as a ghost tree or tree of souls (see more).
Moonah (Melaleuca preissiana) is a tall paperbark that grows from about Geraldton to Albany in sandy soils and swamps. It is a prolific flowerer. The Noongar people used the leaves to treat colds and headaches and the bark was used for a variety of purposes (see more)
Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) is found from about Greenhead to Bremer Bay and is a very common tree in Perth bush. Jarrah furniture has a rich red colour and can be found in many furtinature stores in Western Australia. It grows to a height of 40 metres!
Slender or Candlestick Banksia or Piara (Banksia attenuata) is a wide spread species which can be found from Shark Bay to Bremer Bay. Its beautiful yellow flowers are long cylindric shaped and grow to 26 centimetres long! The flowers are used by Noongar people for medicine and as a refreshment (see more).

Trees also provide habitat for nests, either to be built on a branch or fork or in a hollow. Some trees take many decades before they can provide nesting hollows for many birds.

These Australian Shelduck (Tadorna tadornoides) were seen in a Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) forest near the beach during breeding season. Tuart trees drop branches and provide hollows for many bird species to nest in. Tuart are another tall tree that flower in January. Find out more about Tuarts here.

We all need to protect and take care of our trees. Many thousands are cut down in Western Australia each year and many thousands are also planted by conservation groups, farmers and those that care. Unfortunately, a newly planted tree will take a very long time to provide the habitat that an old one, cut down provided, sometimes hundreds of years. But it is very important to plant trees for the future generations of people and animals alike. You can usually find an environmental group that is planting trees in winter, where ever you live in Perth. Join in with them – it’s good for the soul, good for the environment and you will enjoy the company of happy, caring people!