The Red Tingle (Eucalyptus jacksonii) is one of the tallest trees in Western Australia. This tree is found almost exclusively in Walpole-Nornalup National Park and in a few isolated sites outside the park in the Walpole area. It is a relict of former tropical forests.
They often have shallow root systems and grow a buttressed base that can become hollowed out. The growth of these hollows is triggered by fungal or insect attack and then fire burns out the dead wood from the centre of the tree. As the tree grows, so does the hollow.
Some of the trees look as thought they might fall should a storm or strong enough wind catch them the wrong way, but miraculously they cling to the earth and stand firm, connected via a thin layer of living tissue just beneath the surface of their bark.
Often they grow burls – irregular bulges on their trunk caused by insect, bacterial or fungal infection. The damage initiates the production of growth hormone forming a protective growth around the wound like a scab or scar in much the same way that our skin does, just on a much grander scale. These burls give the trees unique character.
Walking in the shade of their exceptional canopy was very refreshing. The air was filled with an invigorating forest smell, and the near-silence beneath the canopy made the Ancient Empire walk truly awe-inspiring.*
We arrived early, before the masses, and had the walk all to ourselves. As usual, this allowed us to really enjoy the area and spend extra time listening to the birds calls and the gentle flutter of leaves falling to the forest floor.
It was amazing walking with these giants.
* Due to my foot still recovering from my fall, we declined to do the Tree Top walk.