This is the trunk of a paper-bark eucalypt.
These eucalyptus trees are one of Australia’s distinctive visual signatures; they come in all shapes and sizes; the biggest are forest giants on the scale we’re used to in the Pacific Northwest.
They were imported to California and have done well there, albeit surprising people with their propensities to explode in a bush-fire and to drop branches in a drought. Still, they’re fine things and good neighbors.
Comment feed for ongoing:
From: Luis Villa (Jan 11 2007, at 19:24)
They are actually pretty lousy neighbors outside of Australia; they are so good at taking up water that they tend to crowd out native plants, and many native species can't eat them. <a href="http://magazine.audubon.org/incite/incite0201.html">Lots more from Audubon.</a>
From: Michael Strasser (Jan 11 2007, at 22:36)
Sorry Tim, it’s not a eucalypt. It is a Melalueca (paperbark) that is widely planted as a street tree in Melbourne. (You were close in that both genera are in the same family, Myrtaceae.)
My taxonomic pedantry does not detract in any way from the beauty of Australia’s flora and fauna, which I’m glad to see you appreciate. You could get 100 fascinating photos of the bark on a single paperbark tree.
From: speedo (Jan 15 2007, at 13:54)
they also grow like weeds, they are used in alot of places to take the pressure off of local woodstocks because of their ability to grow at such an accelerated rate.