Wildflowers, Photos ... and Gidgee

Acacia cambagei, commonly known as Gidgee , Stinking wattle or Stinking gidgee is a tree commonly encountered by those travelling in remote parts of Australia. It is one of several hundred species of wattle or Acacia most of which are native to and confined to Australia.Image Could Not Be Found

Gidgee is a spreading tree 4–15 m tall with a moderately dense crown. The bark is flaky, thick and dark grey. Image Could Not Be FoundThe small branchlets and phyllodes (“leaves”) are covered with a grey-white, often flaking, waxy covering, giving the whole tree a greyish appearance. The phyllodes are narrowed at both ends, 4–14 cm long, 3–15 mm wide. Flowers occur in clusters of small pale golden yellow balls.

Gidgee is found primarily in semi-arid and arid parts of Queensland but extends into the Northern Territory, South Australia and north-western New South Wales. On the western edge of the Simpson Desert there are stands of the Acacia cambageii, and on the eastern side of the desert there are extensive gidgee woodlands of the very similar and closely related Acacia georginae. These appear like olive groves in the swales, particularly where the soil is more clayey or alkaline. Image Could Not Be Found

Confined to regions where the annual rainfall is between 550mm and 200mm, gidgee is found primarily on flat or undulating ground on heavy clay soils. in the eastern part of it range It often forms mixed communities with brigalow which favours the same soil types. In drier regions gigee is found in wetter depressions and low lying areas.Image Could Not Be Found

Gidgee can be seen as individual trees or in extensive open woodlands. The leaves, bark and litter of A. cambagei produce a characteristic odour, vaguely reminiscent of boiled cabbage, that accounts for the common name of "stinking gidgee". This smell seems to be particularly intense when gidgee is wet or in flower. I have heard it said that stockmen could judge where rain had fallen (and hence where feed might be available) by the smell of gidgee on the wind.

The Latin name honours Richard H. Cambage (1859–1928) who collected extensively in New South Wales.

The trunks of Gidgee trees were successfully used for fenceposts and stockyard posts that last in the ground for many years. Image Could Not Be FoundMore recently gidgee wood is valued for turning and craft work. Like many other Acacias the wood is highly coloured and figured.

Acacia georginae is poisonous to stock as it contains the active ingredient of 1080 poison.

Whereabouts have others seen or smelled Gidgee? Does anyone have a decent photo of Gidgee flowers. I recall once when travelling in a largish convoy, stopping for lunch where there was a big Gidgee in full bloom, but I was so fed up with corrugations and dust that I forgot to put the camera to work!

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Member - Phil B (WA) - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 12:58

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 12:58
Hi Val,

Dare I say it but gidgee makes the most fantastic firewood and coals especially for camp oven cooking. The coals last a long time and give off a terrific amount of heat - that's dead gidgee off course.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 14:07

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 14:07
Hi Phil,

Have to agree with that. Like most travellers we like a cheerful campfire, one thats just big enough to provide warmth and cook whatever is in the camp oven. Unfortunately there are many who won't settle for less than a huge roaring bonfire that consumes masses of wood, so in many places good wood is now quite scarce. In desert areas where trees grow VERY slowly firewood should be used sparingly. Hollow logs should be spared from the fire as they often house small animals.

You make a good point about burning dead wood. I recall a gathering a few years ago when some inexperienced campers wanted to try out their new chainsaw and volunteered to collect the firewood. What they came back with had barely lost its bark and was so green and sappy that all it did was smoke for the rest of the night!

Cheers,

Val
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Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 16:27

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 16:27
Hi Val,

To quote Paddy Pallin "The bigger the fire, the bigger the fool".

Min
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Reply By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 14:24

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 14:24
Hi Val,
Another great article on our wonderful flora in Oz.
Keep it up!

cheers
Gerry
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:53

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:53
Thanks Gerry. Always happy for others to do a thread too.

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 15:14

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 15:14
Hi Val

Thanks for yet another great bit of information on another true tree that symbolizes the true Aussie Outback. When ever we are looking for a camp and in an area where we know Gidgee is around, we can always be guarantees a great camping spot. Like Phil has mentioned above, Gidgee makes a great camp fire and always guaranteed a bed of hot coals in the morning to get the fire going again.

Here are some more pictures to add to your collection, and a picture of a Gidgee in flower. Some people can not stand the smell of the Gidgee flower, but we have smelt it that many times we do not take any notice of it, it just lets you know in a good camping area.


Cheers

Stephen

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:43

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:43
Hi Stephen,

Thanks for again putting up all those great photos. I can smell gidgee just looking at them. Your final photo brings back memories as we were camped at the base of that hill for a few days in 07 as part of a big expedition. Blog to come. And yes we did have a pretty good campfire there.

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Fred G NSW - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 15:17

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 15:17
Thanks for the beautiful photos amd menory fodder Val.

The late Slim Dusty sang THIS SONG about a retired drover who also yearned for a fire of gidgee coal once more.

Fred.
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Follow Up By: Fred G NSW - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 15:21

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 15:21
See what happens when ya haven't got ya glasses on LOL... (and memory) it should be.

Thanks also Stephen...I just knew you could add to that collection...thanks mate.

Fred.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 21:05

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 21:05
Hi Fred

Thanks for that. Just as long they are not Tropical plants, then it will be out of my league, as I am a Desert person.


Cheers

Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:47

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:47
Thanks Fred,
Slim was pretty good at getting to what matters for country folk.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 16:05

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 16:05
Here are a couple more photos. First a shot of flowers and buds, showing how dense the flowers can be.Image Could Not Be Found

Also a shot of Gidgee in the Painted Desert of SA.Image Could Not Be Found

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Reply By: Rockape - Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 18:09

Saturday, Jan 22, 2011 at 18:09
John/Val,
have worked in Gidgee country for the last 20 years and never taken any photos. The Gidgee does get pretty hyperactive smell wise when it is wet, some love the smell , some hate it and some don't know what the smell is.

What may interest you is we have a Emu apple tree, desert plum (Owenna acidula) about 8 to 10 meters tall growing where it shouldn't be, it is healthy and has a couple of young ins beside it. I must take some photos.

Have a safe one

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Follow Up By: Member - Tony S (WA) - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 01:48

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 01:48
Photos, photos . No good with-out Photos!!
I have a round-to-it in my yard!!

Must get around to it Ha Ha

Tony
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:52

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:52
Hi Rockape,

Some photos would be good to see.

Tony, is your round-to-it for sale? maybe you could hire it out! I really need one!!!

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Member - John Baas (WA) - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 00:31

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 00:31
Another great post Val. Thanks. And you too stephen.

Sorry I can't add to this one. It's not found in WA I believe, and I've yet to venture far from the border. :-)

Cheers.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:57

Sunday, Jan 23, 2011 at 08:57
Hi John,

We'll get back (thread-wise) to WA soon John. Trouble is you've got so many interesting things over there it takes a bit more effort to get a post up!

Cheers,

Val.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Jan 24, 2011 at 08:52

Monday, Jan 24, 2011 at 08:52
Thanks for the pics and info folks.

Gidgee will also stink when freshly cut.

It's one of our densest timbers at about 1250 kg per cube.

I've turned a bit of it; the heartwood is choc brown and may or may not have distinct figure. The sapwood is cream. Sometimes you get a figure called 'ringed gidgee' which is a bit like fiddleback and is much in demand for fancy turning and musical instrument making.
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