Wildflowers, Photos … and Boabs

Think Kimberley and the iconic Boab tree immediately springs to mind. In Australia this distinctive tree does not occur naturally anywhere else. The most easterly boabs are found around Timber Creek and in the Image Could Not Be FoundGregory National Park and extend west nearly to Broome and south to the margins of the Great Sandy Desert. Within that huge area boabs seem to be everywhere (well almost).

The closest relatives of the Australian Boab (Adansonia gregorii) are about six species of baobab or bottle trees (Adansonia) from Madagascar and a single species from Africa. Australian boabs probably arrived here as recently as 17 million years ago, as seed pods drifting across from Madagascar and Africa. An alternative but possibly outdated theory is that Boabs may date from the time when Australia and Africa were part of the ancient continent of Gondwana.

However they came to be here, they are a distinctive and useful tree, full of character and charm. Young trees are slender, gradually forming the distinctive bottle shaped trunk as the tree reaches maturity. However boabs are a very slow growing tree so maturity may take literally centuries. Frequently boabs are seen in mixed age groups, with slender juveniles, robust but upright middle aged trees and portly spreading elders making up family groups.Image Could Not Be Found

Boabs can be seen growing in a range of situations from harsh rocky outcrops, to sandy plains or clustered along drainage lines.

The trees are deciduous, losing their leaves in the dry season. Image Could Not Be FoundConsequently most of us dry season visitors to the Kimberley only see the bare trees that make such a distinctive sunset silhouette. As the wet season approaches the trees sprout their big leaves made up of 5 to 9 leaflets radiating from a central point.Image Could Not Be Found

Flowering starts as the wet approaches, continuing from October to January. The flowers are large, about 10cm across, creamy white and fragrant. Hopefully someone has a photo of a boab flower.

The distinctive boab “nuts” follow the flowers. Each capsule consists of an oval shaped hard dark brown shell covered with fine brownish hairs. The shell encloses the seeds and crisp white pith both of which are edible. Tourist souvenirs are created by aboriginals who carve the nut with a variety of traditional designs.

Boab trees are now grown commercially for the edible root of the young seedling. The roots when peeled and sliced are sweet and crunchy. However boab trees are protected, meaning that trees must not be damaged and seeds may not be collected from the wild.

The wood of boabs is soft and very open in texture and does not form growth rings. We saw a boab cut down in Derby and noted that the fresh wood has a rather unpleasant pungent smell. The huge trunk of fibrous wood enables the tree to store water in the dry season. Image Could Not Be FoundAborigines blended the sap with water to make a tasty drink. and ate the seeds and the pithy material surrounding them. They also used the wood fibres to make twine and nets.

As boab trees become mature the trunk may have a circumference of many metres. The wood in the trunk rots away leaving a large hollowed out space. Two exceptionally large trees were used by early settlers as Prison Trees to hold aborigines who were being taken to court at Wyndham or Derby. The Derby prison tree is estimated to be about 1500 years old. Another venerable old tree can be seen beside the Great Northern Highway east of the Willare Image Could Not Be FoundBridge Roadhouse. I estimated that this boab has a circumference of about 20 meters! The hollow inside is quite roomy and comes complete with aerial roots.

Mature boabs have bark that is grey in colour and very smooth. Unfortunately this makes them tempting targets for initial-carving graffiti vandals. However many early explorers used boabs as convenient landmarks and recorded details of their travels carved into the trunk. One such Tree is the Gregory Tree on the banks of the Image Could Not Be FoundVictoria River near Timber Creek. It is a marked boab, inscribed by the explorer Gregory in 1856. It marks the site of his base camp from which he explored the surrounding region.

Another such tree is the Hahn Tree off the Gibb River Road, marked by Frank Hahn in 1898. Perhaps the oldest European inscribed boab is at Careening Bay off the Kimberley coast, visited by Phillip Parker King in 1820 while undertaking a hydrographic survey of the Australian coastline. King and his crew careened his ship the HMS “Mermaid” and carved the ship’s name into a nearby boab. These carvings have mostly survived the passage of time with new bark not significantly overgrowing the contours of the initial carving.

In July 2008 West Australian Aboriginals replanted a mature boab tree in King’s Park in Perth. A road widening project near Warmun north of Hall’s Creek meant the tree, estimated to be 750 years old, would be destroyed. To save the boab, it was carefully uprooted, Image Could Not Be Foundplaced on a low-loader and driven for 6 days and 3200 kilometres with a police escort to Perth's Kings Park. There it joined a family of 14 other much younger boabs. Does anyone have a photo of it in its new home?

We were fortunate to see this travelling tree as we were stopped for lunch at the big boab east of Broome.

I’m hoping we can create a whole family of boabs on here, complete with flowers and nuts.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Joe n Mel n kids (FNQ - Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:16

Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:16
dont know if it will work but try google "street view" and go for a cruise up Kings Park, ya may well be able to see it
AnswerID: 437037

Reply By: Motherhen - Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:20

Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:20
Hi Val

I wonder if anyone knows how the tree transported to Perth went. We were staying in Kununurra at the time of the move, and i thought it couldn't possibly survive in Perth.

When my sister and I were about two and four, our Dad took a photo of us standing against a big Boab in Derby, and again when were were around 12 and fourteen. In 2008 i tried to find the tree again but was unsure. Tourist info centre suggested a few, and one they called the dinner tree was the best option. If it was the right tree, it was not as i remembered it.

I watched the sun rising behind this young Boab on the Leopold Downs Road.

Image Could Not Be Found

Motherhen
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 437038

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:29

Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:29
This lovely shaped Boab was found on Charnley River (formerly Beverley Springs) Station.

Image Could Not Be Found

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708460

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:39

Friday, Nov 26, 2010 at 23:39
Image Could Not Be Found

This lonely sentinel stands on top of the waterfall at Galvans Gorge.

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708461

Follow Up By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 09:33

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 09:33
MH,
I worked in Derby 78/79 and whilst I was there they did some street widening and other 'developments' which involved knocking down a few Boabs. The locals did not seem to care at the time. A few of we 'itinerants' expressed concern but were ignored as being irrelevant.
0
FollowupID: 708480

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 16:17

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 16:17
Hi Alastair

I don't remember this tree as being a street tree but being out on its own, but it must have been in walking distance as on both occasions we were travelling by ship.

Mh

Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708501

Follow Up By: Member - Toyocrusa (NSW) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 18:57

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 18:57
Gees MH. It was only "20" years ago and you've forgotten already. LOL. Bob

0
FollowupID: 708509

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 19:03

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 19:03
Yes Bob, 20 years and a few months - it was those last few months that did the damage LOL
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708510

Follow Up By: Member - Stuart P (WA) - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:23

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:23
it flowered this year
0
FollowupID: 708545

Follow Up By: kimberleybloke - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:26

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:26
Gee Mother Hen,I think I have the same problem as you,I think its called "old timers".The last passenger ship of the State Shipping Servive that arrived in Derby was in March 1973.Do you have the photo of this Boab?Some of us locals may be able to identify it for you.I have seen photos of Derby from 80 odd years ago and you can still identify where the boabs are in these old photos.Allistair is correct in saying some big Boabs where removed,Especially the one outside the old catholic church,I have pictures of my parents after their wedding, standing near this old tree,now long gone.
0
FollowupID: 708546

Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:46

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:46
I was two years old when we went on the State ship. Next time it was on a liner shipping freight and passengers between Fremantle and Singapore.

Thanks Kimberley bloke; i have looked for the albums which may be somewhere in my house - otherwise they may be at my sister's house. The tree had changed little in the ten years between photos, and i thought i would be able to compare to the dinner tree that we looked at in 2008.

I loved Derby; it hasn't lost its charm over the years like Broome has (ducking for cover now!).

Mh
Motherhen

Red desert dreaming

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708547

Reply By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 00:02

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 00:02
Hi Val

Whilst I have to agree that boabs are a great tree, when I think Kimberley I immediately think Spinifex and Antbeds, which is what predominates around here.

We actually have one boab tree in Mulan, right outside the clinic, but if I recall correctly that was the donation of a nurse some years ago.

I am going to Kununurra soon, and I will try to remember to get some boab photos the other side of Turkey Creek, as there are heaps around there, and on the side of the lake at Kununurra.

Cheers
Why travel overseas, you could travel Australia your entire life, and not see it all.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 437040

Reply By: Member - TJ (VIC) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 00:13

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 00:13
Hi John and Val,

here is a photo of the one in Kings Park taken in early September.


TJ...Image Could Not Be Found
AnswerID: 437041

Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 00:26

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 00:26
Hi Val,
it would be great if you could cut and paste this thread and thread 82592 (wildflowers, photos and grass trees) into a blog, making it easier for all to find in the future. This thread and the other will eventually end up in "quarantine" (archived... lol..!) and much more difficult to locate.

Both threads are very informative and helpful. Keep up the good work.
regards
Fred B
VKS 737: Mobile/Selcall 1334

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 437043

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 08:27

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 08:27
Hi Fred,

My intention is to set up a blog and link the forum posts to it. That way they wont get lost, and as you say should be easier to find. But I wanted to use the forum to gather other folks ideas, observations and photos so it becomes a collective effort rather than just my contribution.

Thanks for your kind comments.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708474

Reply By: Member - Joe T (NT) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 01:03

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 01:03
This tree was only a few feet from the edge of the blacktop main road near Bliner oil well, not far from Noonkanbah turn off, the photo was taken late 1979, it is no longer there as I believe a truck knocked it out sometime in the late 80s

Image Could Not Be Found

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 437046

Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 07:08

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 07:08
Must have been a bloody big truck.......
Ohhh I miss the Kimberley
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

Member
My Profile  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708468

Follow Up By: Member - David G (WA) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 10:45

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 10:45
we used to call that one halfway boab unfortunately it died of old age we believe and started to fall apart so it had to be removed i had a few snoozes under its shade over the years
0
FollowupID: 708485

Follow Up By: kimberleybloke - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:02

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 01:02
I remember this old boab as a young fella inthe late 50's early 60's travelling from Derby to Fitzroy with my father or grandfather as they delivered supplies throughout the Fitzroy Valley.The road was all dirt in those days.It was a favourite meeting place on the road for the old timers to have a nip and a yarn before continueing their journey.Later in life I became involved in trucking through the Kimberley and always pulled up at the old boab for a spell.It did eventually die of old age?,but the one on the opposite side of the road is still there.Thanks for the old photo,it brought back some good memories of the old days.
0
FollowupID: 708543

Reply By: pepper2 - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 08:15

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 08:15
approx 6 boab trees have been transported to just south of kiama nsw about 2 hrs south of sydney,placed on a headland very close to the ocean,have never seen then with leaves .
AnswerID: 437053

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 09:07

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 09:07
Hi Pepper,

Was intrigued by your post so did a bit of googling. Apparently they are Queensland Bottle Trees (Brachychiton rupestris) which, although they have a similar appearance, are a quite unrelated species. Seems that the trees in Kiama were from a mine site in Queensland and so had to be cleared. They were packed up and sent to a number of places around Oz and even overseas. A link is here

Cheers,

Val
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 708477

Reply By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 08:49

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 08:49
My husband and I loved the boabs all over the top end - and for my 60th birthday he bought me a painting of some - they are on glass, with a moon, done by a guy from Victoria called Laslo Biro - when it is hung on a window - and light shines through it, the colouors come alive - but it looks equally impressive hung on a wall.

Every time I look at it I think of the great time we had in the North West, and of my darling, now gone.

Thanks for sharing these fantastic photos with us.
jules
AnswerID: 437055

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 10:04

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 10:04
Hi John and Val
Once again very informative, thanks. I am currently working on something similar to what you have been doing over the last couple of week, a very special eucalyptus that grows in the tablelands of New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria and the only location hundreds of kilometres away and the only location here in SA - the hills around 8 kilometres west of my town of Clare.

After reading Fred's reply I do not know weather to post it either here on the forum or as a blog so it does not get lost in time?


Cheers

Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 437058

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 12:05

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 12:05
Hi folks, nice idea for a post!! Here's some pix of a Boab flower.Image Could Not Be Found It was in a tree at Bell Gorge. Image Could Not Be Found Just as you reach the creek where you have to ford it. I suspect that the burst of rain they had in late May confused the trees and this one decided it was time to flower.... W
Warrie

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 437063

Reply By: Member - Megan and Kevin D (AC - Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 22:06

Saturday, Nov 27, 2010 at 22:06
Hi Val
Thought I'd add this pic of a boab growing amongst the ruins of the old Pago Mission on Mission Bay north of Kalumburua.
MeganImage Could Not Be Found
AnswerID: 437089

Reply By: Wayne (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 09:15

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 09:15
Val

Just a few more photos of Boab Trees,

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Image Could Not Be Found

Wayne
AnswerID: 437121

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 17:13

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 17:13
Thank you all for your input and great photos. It would appear that boabs hold special memories for many of us.

It was especially good to be able to see close up photos of the flowers - I'm told that they have a perfume like carnations. Also to see the"travelling" boab at home in Kings Park.

Apart from the boab at Galvans Gorge most boabs in the photos seem to be growing in flattish places where the soil might be reasonably good. Just to show how adaptable they are I found a photo of Image Could Not Be Foundone growing in a very rocky situation in the Oscar Range between Tunnel Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, one of a large number of boabs in that area.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
- Albert Einstein

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

AnswerID: 437173

Reply By: Richard W (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 20:33

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 at 20:33
Val,

The Boab is one of my favourite trees.

Got into an argument once that the Boab and Bottle Tree were the same.
An on the fly Google query resolved the issue. ;) LOL.

The Australian boab tree (Adansonia gregorii) is related to the Madagascan and African Adansonia species known as baobabs. Like its relatives it is sometimes called a "bottle tree", but we locals refer to the trees as just boabs.

Brachychiton rupestris is a member of the Sterculiaceae family and is commonly referred to as the Queensland Bottle Tree, Queensland-Flaschenbaum, or the Narrowleaf Bottle Tree or Kurrajong. The common name “bottle tree” refers to the characteristic trunk of the tree, which can reach a 2 m diameter. The height of the tree is less impressive, with a maximum height of 18-20 m, smaller in cultivation; the canopy spans 5-12 m in diameter. The tree will drop its leaves before the flowering period, which are between the months of October and December. The characteristic bottle shape should develop in approximately five to eight years. The canopy will also thin out during a drought.

Couple of mine from the Kimberley.







and of course the Prison Tree near Derby.




AnswerID: 437197

Sponsored Links

Popular Products (13)