Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boab trees in Derby

Before we arrived in Derby we had heard about boab trees but had never seen
them. They are only found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Though not exceptionally high, normally up to fifteen metres, they appear
huge. They have a hugely swollen trunk that can reach a massive girth of up
to twenty metres. The trees are very slow growing and it takes many
hundreds if not thousands of years to grow into impressive specimens. The
trees are deciduous and drop their leaves during the dry season which is now
so we are seeing them as brown skeletons. During the wet season the trees
sprout new leaves and are soon a lush green. They fruit and flower during
the wet season and the local Aboriginal people use the nuts as bush food.

We have been amazed at these trees and it is tempting to take a photo of
each one you see, but there are so many. Reasonably young trees are grown
down the island of the main road leading into Derby but there are huge
numbers of impressive trees in the township. The trees are now protected
and so some are located in unusual places and roads have been diverted
around them. Because it is now the dry winter season we are seeing the
trees with no leaves and it would be easy to be mistake them as dead

There is one unique boab tree - the boab and a snappy gum tree have enfolded
themselves together and have interlocking canopies. These trees are beside
the BP service station and are now protected

We are bound to see lots of these trees as we travel in the Kimberley region
over the next week or so - they are seen growing from Derby to Kununurra.

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