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Hidden gem discovered in Botanic Gardens

Vibrant purple fruit of a native northern white beech.

The Bundaberg Botanic Gardens keeps on giving, with the recent discovery of a new tree in a hidden corner of the gardens.

This week staff identified a native crepe myrtle called Lagerstroemia archeriana that is currently in flower with an impressive pinkish mauve bloom.

Botanic Gardens and Horticulture Area Supervisor Cody Johnson said the tree discovery was made after work to install drainage and new footpaths made the area more accessible.

“We're now able to get down here and rediscover these little hidden gems, and we've been doing a lot of identification work and labelling which has been pretty exciting discovering a lot of species that we didn't know we had,” Cody said.

Last year, staff identified a rare Australian black plum (Pouteria eerwah), a species thought extinct for a large part of last century until it was rediscovered in 1980.

The new paths have also given access to a large northern white beech (Gmelina fasciculiflora) which boasts a vibrant purple fruit.

The trees are in an area known as the Woodworkers Guild that was originally established in the early 1980s and 1990s, however tree labels were lost in floods and the area was largely forgotten.

Cody added while harvesting the trees was the original intent of the Woodworkers Guild, they will now be retained as an important demonstration of timber species and a new place for visitors to explore.

Cody had a few tips for people looking to explore the Botanic Gardens in more depth.

“Get off the beaten track and get away from the roadway. We’ve done a lot of footpath installations in the last 12 months through 2020 when, through Covid-19 times, people were looking for new spots to get out and about and get back to nature.”

The team at the Botanic Gardens regularly updates an information board at the café with news on what species are fruiting and flowering, and where to find them.

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