Robert Powell: Tree Pictures, South-Western Australia
Flooded gum (Eucalyptus rudis)
In south-western Australia flooded gum replaces its close relative river gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) as the dominant tree of many moist sites — swamps and the surrounds of lakes, river banks and floodplains, and alluvial soils generally. On fertile soils it also occurs on more elevated sites, such as the Darling Scarp.
It is a graceful, spreading tree with a splitting habit, usually dividing near its base into two, three or more main branches. In the Perth area it has rough bark on the trunk and usually the lower parts of the main branches, giving way to smooth, whitish bark higher up. Further south, many trees have a greater proportion of rough bark.
The foliage is bluish-green, and the tree was formerly known as ‘blue gum’. Blue Gum Lake, Mt Pleasant, is named after this tree (now almost entirely replaced there by exotic trees and non-local eucalypts). The Aboriginal name, moitch, is useful in avoiding confusion with an eastern Australian eucalypt also called flooded gum.
© Text and photographs: Robert Powell