What's Growing in Barrm Birrm
Early autumn is a quiet time in Barrm Birrm, but things are still appearing. This is new growth on a peppermint which had its head snapped off in a storm - that's the torn edge you can see in the top of the photo.
Epicormic growth on a Peppermint
Not much is flowering in Barrm Birrm in late summer, early autumn, but this year, there's quite a lot of juvenile growth popping out of broken down eucalypts. It's a strange thing, to see a tree like this one, the top snapped off and lying nearby looking quite dead, but the new growth sprouting from the trunk.
This trait of epicormic growth is most often seen after fire, and first appeared 60 to 62 million years ago after Gondwana had separated off from the lands cluster around the south pole, and the ability to regrow after fire accounts for the success of eucalypts on the continent.
In this peppermint in Barrm Birrm, the response is not to fire but to a loss of the body of the tree through breakage. There seems to be a lot more of this kind of around this season, since the New Year. I put it down to the wet summer, which has left the whole hillside damp, the grasses fresh, and the trees feeling vigorous.