By Renee Wood
The Eucalyptus regnans, or the Mountain Ash, has been dubbed the Eucalypt of the Year for 2022 following a national poll by Eucalypt Australia.
The competition has been running for five years and the votes quadrupled from last year, with the most going towards the Mountain Ash which is one of the principal forest trees in the Yarra Ranges area.
Eucalypt Australia Linda Baird said it’s unique in Australia and internationally.
“It’s the tallest flowering tree or plant of any description in the world, we actually hold that, that is our native tree,” Ms Baird said.
The tallest known is in Tasmania at 100.5 metres, with a Eucalyptus regnans in the Black Spur standing at 86 metres tall.
“The interesting thing is that the tallest isn’t necessarily the oldest – they gain girth.”
“So they grow up really tall and straight, and then they just get wider and wider and wider.”
The tree is also vital to local biodiversity, home to threatened species through hollows including the Leadbeater’s Possum and Greater Glider.
The tree also faces growing issues with fire events sweeping through their habitat.
“They are obligate seeders, when the regnans get fire on fire on fire it’s really difficult for them because their seeds will only be viable once they become mature and they take around 20 years to become mature.
“If you’re getting back to back fire events, that gets really really difficult.”
The poll aims to engage with the public to promote the diversity of Eucalypts, with 988 species, and to grow a greater understanding of what’s in your urban environment.
Second place went to the Red Flowering Gum, Corymbia ficifolia and the Sydney Red Gum, Angophora costata, came in third.
Ms Baird said the poll delivered a healthy competition on social media as those in the West rallied to back the Red Flowering Gum, with a sense of pride growing among voters about what’s in their backyard.
For those wishing to see a Mountain Ash, they can be spotted in many areas across the Yarra Ranges including in the Upper Yarra and the Dandenong Ranges.
The Ada Tree is also popular Victorian mountain ash in Powelltown, which stands at around 76 metres tall and is estimated to be over 300 years old.
Walking tracks to see the giant Eucalyptus can be accessed by the Ada Tree Picnic Area and car park on Ada River Road, Powelltown.