The Mongarlowe mallee

The Mongarlowe mallee is a true relic from an age gone by.

The Mongarlowe mallee, also known as the ‘Ice Age gum’, may be Australia’s most unique tree.
Since its discovery in 1985, extensive searching has revealed the existence of just six trees from four sites.
Apparently the trees are also incredibly ancient, with some estimates aging them at anywhere from 3000 to 13,000 years old.

A structure at the base of the tree called the lignotuber helps give an indication of age. The bulbous organ stores food and, in many eucalypt species, sends forth new shoots when the tree is traumatised, as in a fire, for example. Once the rate of growth of a lignotuber is established it’s possible to estimate a plant’s lifespan.
The largest known Mongarlowe mallee has a lignotuber 7.5 metres by 12 metres. It’s unlikely the lignotuber grows more than 2mm each year, indicating that particular tree has been around for over 30 centuries.

Read more about these amazing survivors at

Image: ©State of New South Wales (Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water) 2024
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