fine art > A Tale of Two Trees | Dahl Fellowship 2023

watercolour, gouche, acrylic + wax on board
1300cm x 1300cm x 2cm

The Red Flowering Gum, Corymbia ficifolia or yorgum, is renowned for its mass vibrant and eye-catching flowers or inflorescence. These flowers can range in shades from deep crimson to bright scarlet, rarely pink or orange blooms. Flowering mainly in Bunuru (February - March) they are a magnet for wildlife, particularly nectar-feeding birds and insects attracted to the copious amounts of sweet nectar produced by the flowers.

The inflorescence have multiple stamens, each bearing anthers filled with pollen that are released into the atmosphere and are naturally preserved in peat landscapes. Peat cores collected from the area tell a story of environmental change for the last 5000 - 6000 years. This information contributes to our understanding of earth history, climate modelling and future climate predictions as we ‘learn from the past to understand the future’.

Looking at fossil pollen under the microscope, C. ficifolia is a striking pollen grain ranging in size from 23-37 micrometers (µm), slightly bigger than white blood cells.