Weekly photo challenge: frayed

imageIt took me a wee while to think go something for this weeks photo challenge, until it was out tramping today and with the help of my husband, came up with this: the Eucalyptus tree, or ‘gum tree’. 

Most trees shed their bark in one way or another, and there is a good *physical* reason why they need to – as the tree trunk grows fatter, the bark has to either stretch or come off.

There are other reasons for shedding bark as well – to make it difficult for insect pests to maintain a home, or simply to avoid the expense of upkeep (bark requires constant repleneshment of oils to maintain its elasticity).

Gum trees in particular stand out because of the way that they shed their bark. A tree book (Thomas, Peter (2000). Trees: Their Natural History. Cambridge University Press, UK) says: “Some ‘stringy-bark’ eucalypts grow masses of thin-walled cells in the bark, so when it dies, the bark breaks into strings of loosely attached fibrous bark”. Sounds pretty messy!

Bark is dead, so you can think of it as losing hair… and in gum trees, it actually looks that way!

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