How the “coronavirus tree” got its name

· Guest post by Adam Goulding ·

Before COVID-19 caused temporary closure of CDTLI’s Bush Garden Nursery, our Saturday sessions were often busy and tended to attract passing walkers, cyclists and runners. We even had a couple come in half way through our volunteers’ smoko, only to be rather disappointed that we were not a coffee shop, as they originally thought.

On our last open Saturday, we had four running types who were interested in native plants. One of them had a picture of a tree for me to identify. So, gingerly maintaining my 1.5 metre social distancing, I looked at their photograph.

It showed the round flower head of what they called the “coronavirus tree” . And yes, it indeed looks similar to a greatly-magnified coronavirus!

I was able to identify the tree species and pointed to one of these trees growing at the Nursery. As botanical readers may already have guessed, it is the Leichhardt Tree, Nauclea orientalis.

To me henceforth Nauclea orientalis will be referred to as the “coronavirus tree”. I will be planting one of them in my garden to remember the global pandemic.

The image accompanying this post is “Australia’s ‘coronavirus tree’ ” created by Julia Hazel as a derivative of “Nauclea orientalis” by Tony Rodd (used under CC-BY-SA) and “Computer render of SARS-CoV-2 virus” by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (in the public domain). It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.