Eucalyptus   spp. Gum nuts  - Myrtaceae

The fruits of the more than 300 species of Eucalyptus that are indigenous to Australia only, range in size from one-quarter-inch - two inches (0.5-5cm).  The fruits, called "gum nuts," are woody capsules with a lid that slips off when the fruit is ripe, allowing small angular seeds to fall out.  Eucalyptus is from the Greek eu, 'well,' and kalypto, 'to cover,' as with a lid.  This alludes to the united calyx lobes and petals forming a cap which is shed when the flower opens.

Colloquially known as "gums," they generally have no gum, but oil in the leaves and twigs make them rich fodder for forest fires.

The people of the southwest desert of Australia call themselves Anangu, "we people."  This tribe burns stories of ancestral journeys into their crafts.  The technique of incising crafts with burnt wire decoration is recent and is synonymous with them.  Known as "poker work," it stems from aboriginal men who worked as shepherds and learned the effect of hot iron when branding cattle.3

 

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