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The Spreading Myrtle. By Geoff Murray

November 03, 2021

The Spreading Myrtle. By Geoff Murray

Back in 2004, I was privileged to be told where a particular tree lived in the Tasmanian high country. Few people had ever seen this tree and my first visit was a very special event.

When I found it I just stood and soaked up the atmosphere that surrounded this tree. It was a magnificent Myrtle Beech, Nothofagus cunninghamii, and contrary to the Myrtle’s usual shape of being quite tall, it spread its branches out almost horizontally. It had already been christened the Spreading Myrtle and it was by far the most impressive and beautiful tree I had ever seen.

Spreading Myrtle

Over the ensuing years, I visited this tree a number of times, on one occasion my wife and I went to see it together and she was as impressed as I was.

Then, one winter, a particularly heavy snowfall partially destroyed the tree, and it was the Spreading Myrtle no more. Part of it still lives, but it has lost the stately magnificence that it once had.

There are other trees hidden in this forest, and it is fun to wander slowly through the thickets, searching out other massive denizens of the forest.

I returned to this place a couple of days ago and found a new tree. I was not the first to see it, but it was the first time my eyes had seen it and it was an exciting moment.

I spent quite some time at this tree, trying to catch its massive magnificence with my camera and then moved on to see if I could find any others.

Conditions were not good for forest photography with lengthy sunny periods and as I walked amongst the grass sags in a large clearing in the forest I was reminded that keeping an eye on the ground was wise as I spotted a beautiful jet black tiger snake perfectly coiled in front of a rock.

This is a place to return to again and again, particularly when the silent mist floats amongst the trees, deadening sound and covering everything with fine droplets of moisture, saturating the colours of the bark and glistening leaves.


Where else would you want to be?

Geoff Murray
Mont Ambassador

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