Telling figs apart 2


We all need to be reminded about why the Tyrrell Street trees failed

I wandered lonely as a cloud about town on Sunday looking at different types of fig and realised that there are some trees I had always assumed were Moreton Bay figs that may be Port Jacksons.  

Fascinating way to spend the day. My children were really keen to go and look at trees. Not. 

I suspect they’re vitamin D deficient from all their indoor photoshopping and youtubing so we went to the park with a bribe of unbelievably unhealthy and value-added food bought at a drive-through.  

Young row of Port Jackson figs. There are Hill's figs behind these.

The park we went to was Learmonth Park in Hamilton/Hamilton South. I didn’t even realise that was its name until we arrived. The figs there are gorgeous. I presume they’re mostly Port Jacksons. We watched children on the equipment at the little plastic playground, people sitting enjoying the effects of global warming, with unseasonally warm weather, parents pushing prams and dogs chasing balls. There were fig birds, magpies and native cuckoo shrikes in and under the trees.  

Good place for admiring Port Jackson figs, and at two corners of the park are sandstone columns with plaques about the Australian Agricultural Company.On the University of Newcastle’s website is info about their cultural collection which holds the AA company archives. The company’s records show ‘how a handful of privileged individuals were granted one million acres in northern New South Wales by the Crown.’ The AA company were discussed at the charette about the Laman Street trees and Civic Park; they moved their coal by train which originally passed through what is now Civic Park.  

Before I went to Learmonth Park I walked through the stand of figs along Parry/Donald Street – don’t you hate it when a street changes its name four or five times? -which were mentioned at the charette as being possible replacements as food sources for bats if the Laman Street Hill’s figs went… You can see in that stand of figs the obvious difference between Hill’s figs’ leaves and Port Jacksons. Another way to tell the difference is the absence of graffiti on a Port Jackson because the bark’s not so white and inviting.  In this stand in Hamilton, though, the trunks of the figs  haven’t been graffitied because they’re on a hillside and surrounded by mulch. (I was reading about protecting trees’ roots once and mulch was quoted as a way of discouraging people from walking near the base of trees. So obvious when you think about it: all those twigs in your shoes.)  

So there’s the busy-person-who- isn’t-an-arborist’s guide to telling the difference between our most common fig trees: the shape of the trunk, the presence or absence of buttress roots, the colour of the leaves and the presence or absence of graffiti. Very scientific.        Index                   Home         


Hill's fig on right, Port Jackson on left



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One Response to “Telling figs apart 2”

  1. Ali Says:

    Thanks, im sure a lot of ppl didnt know the difference. I often have had the two species confused. Your observations & simple I.D techiniques are great.
    & a big thankyou to the children for their ongoing support:)

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