A leisurely trip through Victoria’s Black Spur Drive will have you seeing the world’s tallest flowering trees – the eucalyptus regnans.
The US may lay claim to having the world’s tallest trees at present (115m-plus redwoods in California), but to see the world’s tallest flowering trees – the eucalyptus regnans, or Mountain Ash – you have to come to Australia. And in fact there’s discussion in some quarters that e. regnans was once the world’s tallest tree full stop, with specimens in Victoria in the late 1800s clocking between 130m and 150m.
A leisurely trip through one of the most well known Australian homes of these giants – Victoria’s Black Spur Drive – will have you thinking you’ve entered another world. Lining the winding road, the trees stand as though on guard, tall and proud, reaching thrilling heights of more than 100m. Step out of the car and watch the canopies sway majestically in the sky. On the ground tree ferns thrive, the air is moist, the light dim. Here and there the sun dapples the ground, creating a feeling of mystery and quietude.
Also known as the Tasmanian Oak, Stringy Gum or Victorian Ash, they’re limited to southeastern Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. They grow quickly, a metre per year, and are the largest of Australia’s distinctive eucalypts, with typically no branches until near the crown. From summer to winter its small white flowers blossom and if the tree isn’t taken by fire it can live up to 500 years before succumbing to old age.
Where // Eucalyptus regnans occur in southeast Australia and Tasmania. The Black Spur Drive is around 60km northeast of Melbourne, between Healesville and Marysville. More info at www.visitvictoria.com or 132 842
Did you know? // Worryingly, unlike most eucalypts that bounce back fairly readily from bushfires, the poor old Mountain Ash is the one exception to this rule. It can take close to two centuries for a devastated area to fullyrecover.
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