Australia's floral emblem is the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycantha).
State & Territory emblems are:
- Tasmania - Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Globulus)
- New South Wales - Waratah (Telopea speciosissima)
- South Australia - Sturt's Desert Pea (Swainsona formosa)
- Australian Capital Territory - Royal Bluebell (Wahlenbergia gloriosa)
- Northern Territory - Sturt's Desert Rose (Gossypium sturtianum)
- Queensland - Cooktown Orchid (Dendrobium bigibbum)
- Victoria - Pink Heath (Epacris impressa)
- Western Australia - Red and Green Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos manglesii)
Other interesting tree trivia:
- Since European settlement, Australia's forest cover has been reduced from 69 million hectares to 41 million hectares.
- Trees first appeared on Earth long before the dinosaurs did - about 400 million years ago.
- Trees are the largest of all living things - some species can grow 100 metres tall and weigh 600 tonnes.
- Trees combat the greenhouse effect and slow the effects of global warming. They soak up carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen for us to breath.
- Trees help prevent soil erosion and landslides.
- Car owners can plant native trees to counter the greenhouse emissions of their vehicle travel. 17 native trees over their lifetime (around 30 years) can offset the carbon emissions produced by an average year of car use (for details visit the Greenfleet web site), or this same amount can be offset within one year by planting 200 native trees (for details visit the TreeSmart web site).
- Native plant habitats support a host of insects and other creatures that provide free services on which we all depend. It is estimated that one-third of our food comes from plants that rely on native pollinators!
- Trees improve water quality by acting as a filter to unwanted nutrients and pesticides.
- Trees can prevent soil salination and provide soil enrichment through the action of nitrogen-fixing bacteria that are found in the tree roots.
- Trees have many commercial uses that include timber building materials, paper products, furniture, medicines such as aspirin and quinine and fuel for cooking & heating.
- Trees produce a great range of edible fruit and nuts including apples, bananas, mangos, avocados, macadamias and Brazil nuts.
- Trees provide shelter as windbreaks which increases agricultural productivity and can provide shade for homes, keeping them cool in summer.
Many trees can outlive humans, and some can live more than 1000 years.
Australia's oldest tree is the King Billy Pine, found in Tasmania and
estimated to be over 1200 years old!
- The Wollemi Pine which is only found in Wollemi National Park near Sydney, is a "living fossil" with a heritage of over 100 million years. There are only 40 trees in the wild and they have the lowest known genetic variability of any plant species.
- Eucalyptus trees are Australia's most
common tree species and can grow up to 50 metres. California, South
America and India have all cultivated eucalyptus trees for paper,
insect repellents, chest rubs and cough drops.