Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala)
The largest tree native to the Swan Coastal Plain, tuart is also notable for its vigour, with an associated grace. It occurs on sand or limestone along a coastal strip 5-10 km wide; so not surprisingly it is one of the hardiest eucalypts in tolerating lime and salt winds.
Near the coast tuart adapts its form to the conditions, growing less tall but more branching and compact, with broad masses of dense foliage that shield the individual leaves from the deposition of salt.
The pictures are arranged roughly from north to south, the trees increasing in size as the conditions become progressively less arid. The first picture was taken north of Cervantes, near the northern extremity of tuart’s range, and the last few near Ludlow, east of Busselton, at tuart’s southern extremity.
© Text and photographs: Robert Powell