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Silver Princess

At my front gate, I have a silver princess gum tree (eucalyptus caesia) growing and at this time of year it’s especially pretty.

It’s called “silver princess” because it’s beautiful and it really is silver, at least the bark and the old gum nuts are gorgeously silver. You could be forgiven for thinking someone has sprayed the gum nuts with silver paint, but it’s all entirely natural. 

First the little pear-shaped buds form, — you can see them in the photo — then the flowers open (and the birds and bees love them), then after a while they fall off, leaving that little bell-shaped remnant cap, which also falls off eventually and dot the ground like tiny pixie caps. 

When I was young, I used to make tiny dolls out of the gum nuts and the little flower caps of  gum tree blossoms. Like most Australian kids I grew up reading the stories about the gum nut babies, by May Gibbs. ( Do a google image search for May Gibbs gumnut babies and you’ll see hundreds of really cute little illustrations.)

Finally the gum nuts form and they’re  pure silver, ready to be picked for Christmas decoration — no paint needed.

You can see the silver gum nuts here. It’s not a very good photo — it looks as if it’s a black and white photo, but I took it this evening against a grey winter sky, and silver and grey doesn’t show up well. But you get the idea.

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1 year ago

Those are beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before. I can see why they’d be a perfect Christmas decoration.

Anne Gracie
Anne Gracie
1 year ago
Reply to  theo

Thanks Theo — yes, quite a few indigenous Australian plants would be suitable for Christmas decorations. I have been known to grab a few fallen twigs and gum nuts spray them with chrome paint — not that you’d need that with this. And the flowers of the hakea pincushion look just like Christmas baubles.
Congratulations on the safe arrival of your grandbaby.

1 year ago

I thought the flowers were a little creepy at first, but they grow on me.
The gum nut babies are adorable. They remind me of the acorn cap fairies, made by Sally Mavor, an artist who lives near our summer cottage on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She done books with her “wee folk” that she makes out of embroidered felt, acorn caps and wood bead heads. I think you would enjoy seeing them.
I would definitely use the gum trees for decoration if I lived in Australia!

11 months ago

I don’t know why mine is dropping its gumnuts before they open to flower. Now there are only 4 left.