Monday, April 25, 2016

Koyo* Season in the Bush - A frolic in the fagus

For those in the Northern hemisphere this may not look like a remarkable picture – deciduous trees are everywhere, but read on to find out why this is special.

 * Koyo is what the  The Japanese call the turning of the leaves. Both the Japanese and Koreans have long appreciated the distinctive beauty of  Autumn leaves
Rocks, a delicate tracery of leaves and equally ancient conifers bring to mind Japanese gardens


Autumn is my favourite season in Tasmania. The air is crisp and clear and everywhere the vegetation puts on its finest colours – not just in the gardens, the parks and the towns, but the bush as well. The plant shown here is the deciduous beech, Northofagus Gunni, Australia’s only native deciduous tree. Though it has distant cousins in New Zealand and South America, this is unique to Tasmania. They are an ancient species and their common ancestry confirms the theory of continental drift and that they were once part of the Gondwana Supercontinent which broke up over 180 million years ago.  It is also unusual to see such large specimens. For the most part they grow in harsh alpine conditions where, pruned by the wind and the cold, they rarely grow much taller than a shrub.

While large concentrations can be seen at this time of year at Crater Lake in Cradle Mountain National Park, we saw these much closer to home at Mount Field National Park, only around two hours' drive from Hobart. Mt. Field National Park, established in 1916 was Tasmania’s first and was  having a  Fagus Festival as part of its centenary celebrations.   This park is important not only for its scenic beauty but the range of land forms including cirques, block streams, tarns and karst regions as well as showcasing many of our endemic plants and animals.
   
The dainty leaves of the deciduous beech
 Long appreciated for its lovely and easily accessible waterfalls, the additional activities this weekend included guided walks, ranger discovery programs, children’s’ activities, Aboriginal dance performances, displays by groups such as the Southern Caverners and the Mount Mawson Ski Patrol, music and some lively folk dancing, which together with the superb weather, brought a large number of people to the park. 

Favourable conditions
 
You seldom see deciduous beech as tall as this

Getting in amongst it -children enjoy the day too

A lovely day for a picnic

Couldn't help noticing this little chap either - see him in action below

All in all, an excellent day!

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