This tree is native to Australia. Its leaves contain an aromatic oil, and they are sometimes used to brew a tea. Each leaf exhibits 5 base-to-tip veins that run more-or-less parallel to the leaf margin, and these are called “nerves”, hence the species name, quinquenerva.
The most interesting aspect of this tree are the multiple layers of peeling, soft, papery bark that coat the trunk and larger branches. Large sheets of paper-like bark can be peeled from the trunk (please don’t try here!). The creamy-white blossoms (mostly stamens) are clustered along the stems, and develop into small hard nut-like fruits clustered along the stems. These contain tiny seeds, and remain closed for many years on the plant. In the event of a fire, the fruit capsules gradually open due to the intense heat, and the seeds fall out a few days after the fire is out, to reseed the scorched landscape. In Florida these trees were planted to help take up water from the Everglades. There they reseed themselves naturally, due to periodic fires in the Everglades, and form dense stands that are impenetrable, even by the local deer population. The species is considered a pest in Florida.
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