Someone posted an intriguing note on the A Historic Forest page of this website. It suggested something we hadn’t thought of before: that the eucalyptus here may be a repository of genetic material not found even back in Australia.
Here’s what he posted:
“Considering the timespan of its planting, the trees at Mt. Sutro may be something more than historic. San Francisco Bay in California is one of the very few areas of the world where some of the oldest Eucalyptus globulus grown out of Australia during the 19th century still stand.
“In Europe, where these trees arrived more or less at once, the oldest standing E. globulus are in the range of 100 to 125 years old, and are normally protected as heritage trees.
“The total number of eucalypt trees in these circumstances around the world is very small over the total, ranging optimistically some few thousands only.
“For the case of Mount Sutro, their historic value may be complemented with a “hidden” genetic value. Indeed, they could be considered “genetic repositories” that could allow to “trace back” the Californian E. globulus landrace to its original race or races in Australia, be it mainland Australia or Tasmania.
“In other words, they are living pieces of biological archaeology. Their original parent trees might no longer be standing due to clearing as Australia was built. Mount Sutro trees could be … a lost tribe and the last of their kind.
“Each old eucalypt cleared down for concrete in California is a vanishing footprint of history. And, maybe, a vanishing nowadays-unique gene pool.”