The Desert Bloodwood Tree
- Desert Bloodwood Trees have rough bark and thick blood red sap. They have tough leathery leaves and store water in their roots.
- The Desert Bloodwood Tree produces yellow and white flowers in the cooler months (April - October). The drops of nectar in each flower provide a high energy drink for many desert animals including honeyeaters, insects and possums.
- Pollen from the flower sticks to those who drink the nectar and transfer it to another flower. Seeds then develop. A hard fruit called a gumnut forms. They hang in clusters all over the tree. The gumnuts dry out and open up and the seeds fall to the ground.
- The Desert Bloodwood tree is host to a female insect called a coccid. She has no legs, wings or antennae and never leaves her gall. Hidden away, she spends her life sucking sap out of the trees veins.
- The Desert Bloodwood is slow growing and long-lived. Large specimens can reach 50 feet in height but are more commonly 26 – 33 feet.
- This tree has been a supermarket, pharmacy and hardware store for desert aboriginal people. You can eat the plump, green grubs from the gall (bush coconut) and grubs that live under the bark; collect honey from the hives of stingless native bees; make a sweet drink from the nectar, make carrying bowls from the bumps (boules) on the bark, obtain medicine from the red sap and collect drinking water from hollows and the roots. The red sap was also used to tan kangaroo-skin waterbags; the dead wood is one of the most favoured firewoods, regarded as burning with a steady, hot flame; fruit capsules are used in necklaces and as toys.