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The manipulator of fire - eucalyptus

The perfect interpretation of the "wildfire can't be finished, the spring breeze blows again"

By Fei FeiPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

In the history of human development, "learning to use fire" is undoubtedly a very important node, through the manipulation of fire, humans can be processed into a variety of natural ingredients easy to digest and absorb cooked food, but also exert a powerful deterrent to other animals, but also to dispel the darkness and cold, harvest light and warmth, from then on Step by step, a glorious civilization has been created.

Interestingly, humans are not the only ones who can use fire. In fact, in the wonderful nature, there exists another kind of fire manipulator - eucalyptus trees, whose performance is a perfect illustration of "the wildfire never ends, but grows again in spring".

Eucalyptus is the collective name for the eucalyptus, cymbal eucalyptus, and cup fruit wood plants under the order Dicotyledon ea, Embraceable, and Mycenaean. Eucalyptus is native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and other places.

Research has shown that the branches and leaves of eucalyptus trees contain volatile aromatic oil, also known as eucalyptus oil, which is very flammable, with a flash point of only about 50 degrees Celsius and a calorific value higher than that of gasoline, and researchers have attempted to use eucalyptus oil to make bio-fuel, only to stop due to the low unit production and high production costs.

Eucalyptus trees grow quickly, and in the process, their dead branches and leaves accumulate on the ground, forming a thick layer of flammable material that, in a hot, dry, or windy environment, can cause a blazing fire with just a flash of lightning, a spark or even the scorching sun.

As you can see, eucalyptus trees seem to start fires on purpose, but why have they evolved this "skill"?

Researchers have analyzed historical data on forest fires around the world and found that forests, where eucalypti were overwhelmingly dominant, had almost always experienced large forest fires before, and after each fire, eucalyptus almost always grew rapidly and gradually gained an absolute survival advantage.

So the answer is that by manipulating fire, eucalyptus can effectively "fight" their competitors (i.e. other plants), so another question arises. Let's see.

By Marko Horvat on Unsplash

Eucalyptus trees are tall trees with the distinctive feature that most of their branches and leaves grow on the top of the tree, while the lower part of their trunk is "bare". The ducts that carry nutrients are buried deep in the center of the trunk.

In the event of a fire, the eucalyptus branches and leaves (both those that fall to the ground and those that grow on the tree) burn quickly because they are rich in eucalyptus oil, which quickly ignites other plants while effectively reducing the lasting damage from the flames.

Although the trunks of eucalyptus trees are also likely to be scorched in a fire, their interiors are protected by their bark with relatively little damage, so most eucalyptus trees will survive as long as the fire is not particularly aggressive.

Under the bark of eucalyptus trees, there are many dormant buds, and after feeling the heat of the fire, these buds will "come back" from their dormant state, and usually within two weeks, fresh young leaves will grow out of the seemingly lifeless trunk, which is a miracle of life.

In addition, the seeds of eucalyptus trees usually have a hard shell, which cracks after the heat of the flames, and then quickly takes root and germinates.

In contrast, other plants around eucalyptus usually do not have the same strong "fire prevention strategy" as eucalyptus, so after a fire, these plants are often burned down and never recover, and the ashes left behind after they burn are turned into nutrients in the soil, helping eucalyptus to grow stronger.

In short, eucalyptus are the perfect example of how "wildfires never burn out, the breeze grows again", and through the manipulation of fire, eucalyptus constantly "fight" their competitors in a way that "hurts a thousand enemies at the expense of eight hundred". "This is also a manifestation of the fierce competition between various species in nature, and it is said that competition in the animal kingdom is very cruel, but why is it not so in the plant kingdom?

Well, we'll stop here today, welcome to follow us, we'll see you next time.


About the Creator

Fei Fei

Fantasy is the poet's wings, hypothesis is the ladder of science。

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