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Fagus at Tarn Shelf, Mt Field

Fagus at Tarn Shelf, Mt Field

Monday April 26, 2010

Tasmania’s Gondwanic connection is firing at the moment, as the autumn colour returns to Australia’s only winter deciduous tree, the Fagus. Each autumn, around Anzac day, the small green leaves of the fagus, which is a Tasmanian endemic found only in the higher mountainous areas of western Tasmania, change into hues of yellow, orange and (if you’re lucky), flame red.

The Tarn Shelf at Mt Field

From Hobart, Mt Field National Park is the most accesible place to see the display, and on the weekend we visited the Tarn Shelf, which is a series of Tarns along a fairly narrow ridge above a large glacially carved valley. The morning greeted us with a mixture of sleet, hail and snow – and we wondered if we were going to see anything at all when we arrived, but by mid morning most of the rain and hail stopped, and we had cold winds and cloud covering the Rodway Range, which is the backdrop to the Tarn Shelf.

Fagus on Mt Field's Tarn Shelf

Fagus on Mt Field’s Tarn Shelf

The search was on for the red leaves, which are rarer, but the best we could come find today was a few leaves with tinges of red on the edge. Most of the bushes were an orangy yellow, and provided a great contrast with the equally unique and ancient dark green of the pencil pines which dotted the landscape.

Fagus and Pencil Pines, Tarn Shelf

“Gondwanaland” Fagus and Pencil Pines, Tarn Shelf

I am hoping to get at least one more visit to the fagus in this season, so check back here for more images in the days and weeks ahead.

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