A member of the eucalypt family, the Cadaghi tree sports the typical white flowers and trademark woody capsules that the family is well known for. Despite being a native species the Cadaghi is regarded as an environmental weed in South Eastern Queensland and as a potential weed in New South Wales. Due to the dense canopy of the tree it can create heavy shade over the other native plants below to prevent them from growing which presents the potential for it to alter the diversity and structure of native forests.
Native or Exotic?
Origin of Tree
Rainforests of northern Queensland
Family of Tree
Spring – Summer
The seeds of the Cadagi exude a resin that bees use to mix with their wax to build nests and seals. Native bees (Trigona carbonaria) have a bit of an obsession when it comes to the collection of this resin and therein lies the issue with this otherwise harmless tree. The seedpods develop in January and continue to mature until the end of February which is the prime time for bees to be working on their nests. While this might seem like a match made in heaven it is becoming a serious issue for bee keepers across the South East region.
When the bees arrive to collect the resin they are after they also collect the seeds that the resin is attached to. Over time thousands of these seeds are brought back and eventually end up lining the inner walls of the hive and blocking the entrance to it. This can cause the hives to overheat and kill its occupants as well as killing off the bees through the fumes that the resin gives off.
Flowers and Fruits
The white flowers present in small groups of 3/7 flowers that are arranged into larger clusters at the tips of its branches. The flower buds are oval and smooth with a lid that is shed when it’s time for the flower to open. Each flower rests on a swollen base with many white or cream coloured stamens and a central small stigma at the top. While flowering occurs in Spring through to Summer it mostly happens during the Spring.
Although sometime mistaken for nuts, the fruit are in fact woody capsules that contain many small seeds. They are perhaps the most well known part of the tree due to being used for arts and crafts and other commercial applications such as souvenirs. The small fruit are rounded with 3 compartments that turn from green to grey or brown as they age. The seeds that reside inside are oval shaped or somewhat flattened and are red or reddish brown in colour.
Stems and Leaves
The trunk of the Cadaghi tree can be quite a thing of beauty. The bark on the lower part of the trunk is rough and dark brown or reddish-brown in colour. As you travel further up the tree the trunk has smoother bark that sheds in strips to reveal a bard that is initially greenish in colour but begins to turn to grey the longer it is exposed. Branches are spawned at almost right angles to the main trunk and younger stems are often covered in short reddish or whitish hairs.
The leaves are oppositely or alternatively arranged with egg shaped blades that can have either pointed or rounded tips with rounded to heart shaped bases. Both the leaf blades and the stalks of the Cadaghi are covered in tough short hairs that make it rough to the touch. Adult leaves are very similar to the younger ones.
Reproduction and Dispersal
The seeds of the Cadaghi tree are spread by wind and water depending on where the tree is located. Due to our native bees obsession with the resin the seeds produce they are also one of the main instruments in its spreading.