‘Turning of the fagus’

By March 1, 2019 March 13th, 2019 Out and about...

Amongst the dolerite landscape of Mt Field and Cradle Mountain grows one of Tasmania’s endemic plant species – Fagus. Or to be botanically accurate, Nothofagus gunnii. Around 100 million years ago, in the southern part of the supercontinent Gondwana, flowering plants like ‘fagus’ began to grow. For this reason, fagus is often referred to as a living fossil.

Fagus is a tree. It’s Tasmania’s only native deciduous tree, and it’s an endemic. You won’t see it anywhere else in the world except in the state’s alpine and sub-alpine regions. In autumn each year, the leaves of the fagus turn from a lush green to yellow, then into hues of orange and red. The colour brings out the leaf’s crinkled texture – it truly is a delight to photograph.

Anticipating the ‘turning of the fagus’…

Each year we anticipate the seasonal change of fagus to occur toward the end of April, and into early May. But when it starts each year is variable. For instance, back in 2016, we noticed the first signs of the colour changing in early April. At the time, we wondered whether a new trend may be starting with the ‘turning of the fagus’ because it happened earlier than in years beforehand (you know, global warming and all?). Suffice to say, we anticipate the ‘turning of the fagus’ any time from the beginning of April onward. But it really depends on the sub-alpine conditions and the whim of Mother Nature.

You may also be interested to read another blog post about the fagus that we published in 2015.


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