National Register of Big Trees

The Children’s Fig – a big tree in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney

Take a look at Derek McIntosh’s new National Register of Big Trees. Here’s a plant project driven by passion. Derek McIntosh is mad about trees – as are most of us who write and read this blog I expect.

Derek lived in the USA during the 1970s, and was inspired by a similar project there called the American Forests’ National Register of Big Trees. He knows there are other lists of important trees around, including the National Trust’s registers of significant trees in Victoria and South Australia.

So why list ‘big’ trees? Well there is an excitement and competitive element that comes with trying to find the biggest anything, and Derek wants to draw on this to get more people interested in, and caring for, all our trees.

Derek has a little editorial work to do on the data and I’ve pointed him to various plant name lists and resources on the web, but that easily fixed.

You’ll also notice the list is very Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney focussed at the moment and that too will be soon fixed! It was just that Derek chose to use our lovely collection as a starting point. He thinks the Kaffir Plum (Harpephyllum caffrum) may be one of the few to stay on the list – but I’ll have to talk to him about the Children’s Fig (Ficus macrophylla f. macrophylla), and a Kauri or two…

A little more work to do on the detail but Derek McIntosh is off and running. Has he captured the biggest trees in Australia? Clearly not if you look at the list, but the challenge is out there for you to let him know about your favourite woody giant.

Postscript: Derek McIntosh emailed me in December 2017 to let me know he had finally visited what he calls the 'National Champion Hoop Pine'. This Araucaria cunninghamii is a 37 metre tall remnant growing near Bowraville, on the mid north coast of NSW.