Sunday, 6 September 2009

Gommier Chou?


George Lambert’s sculpture of Henry Lawson is dwarfed these days by a magnificent Cabbage Gum. The bronze Lawson, with swagman and dog, was installed in 1931. The tree is probably younger, but now envelops the sculpture. Right now, it’s in flower (see end of posting).

Cabbage Gum is a name applied to various gum trees with largish leaves, and the botanical name, Eucalyptus amplifolia, means the large-leaved eucalypt. That said, I’ve seen gum trees with bigger leaves….

Eucalyptus amplifolia is one quite a few (how many I wonder?) species of eucalypt described from specimens cultivated overseas. One of the most famous is Eucalyptus camaldulensis, the River Red Gum, which was described from a private garden in Camalduli, near Naples in Italy.

In the late nineteenth century, the Cabbage Gum was growing in the Bois de Boulogne of El Jazair, in Algeria, and in two gardens in France – the Jardin du Riou, in Cannes, and a private garden in Florence. It was described from these specimens in 1891 by the French botanist, Charles Naudin, who I think was the first Director of the Jardin Botanique de la Villa Thuret in Antibes.

Back in Australia, the Cabbage Gum grows from southern Queensland through to the Bega area in New South Wales. It can be locally common but it features in a now endangered ecological community called Sun Valley Cabbage Gum forest. This assemblage survives only in Sun Valley, in the Blue Mountains.

Apart from eastern Australia and Europe, the Cabbage Gum is also grown widely in at least China.



Images by Simon Goodwin, The Domain, 9 September 2009

1 comment:

Henry Lawson statue said...

Cabbage gum, hey? So that's what's blocking my sun these days and providing a far-too-convenient perch for the birds who like to give me aerial art criticism!

Henry Lawson (Statue)