What is your favourite tree? Cast your vote in our national poll

ABC projects, National Science Week

Karri, tea tree, river red gum… nationwide project to crown Australia’s most loved species.

The poll opens on Monday 1 August. The list will be cut to the top 20 on Friday 12 August, then 10 finalists on Friday 19 August, and the winner will be announced on Friday August 26.

Images available for media use

Meet the 33 contender trees

Participate at: www.abc.net.au/trees from 1 August.

Mountain ash at Lake Tali Karng
Credit: Claire Gilder

Do you love the water-bulging boab or the towering mountain ash, the world’s tallest flowering tree? Are you intrigued by the carbon capturing power of grey mangrove ecosystems or the ‘living fossil’ story of the Wollemi pine?

The search is on to find Australia’s favourite tree. This National Science Week, ABC Science wants people to go online to explore the wonder and science of the plant kingdom, and vote for their favourite tree.

“At last, trees are given the same respect as the birds that perch in them!” says Professor Tim Entwisle, botanist and Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. “This is a celebration of the many roles native trees play in our lives – from home and habitat for wildlife through to the clean air and oxygen we all need to survive. Essential to life, and beautiful too.”

“Move over sequoias and Christmas trees, we want Australians to get to know our endemic trees, because they’re anything but Plane,” says ABC’s Dr Ann Jones. “We’d love people to take this opportunity to learn more about their local tree life and tell us their three favourites.”

ABC’s resident tree-lovers have long-listed 33 species in consultation with horticulturalists. Among the contenders are:

  • Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius)—native to Australia’s eastern coast
  • Quandong (Santalum acuminatum)—found widely in the deserts in central and southern Australia
  • Huon pine (Lagarstrobos franklinii)—from Tasmania’s rainforests and swamps
  • Karri (Eucalyptus diversicolor)—of south-west Western Australia
  • Macadamia tree (Macadamia integrifolia)—growing naturally in the coastal rainforests of the QLD-NSW border region
  • Mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans)—standing tall in forests of Victoria and Tasmania.

For more about each tree and to vote for your favourite, visit www.abc.net.au/trees.

The poll opens on Monday 1 August. A shortlist of 10 finalists will be announced on Friday 12 August, and the winner on Friday August 26.

Australia’s Favourite Tree is the online project for National Science Week 2022, undertaken by ABC Science with funding through the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia strategy.

Background information

Talent available for interviews

Boab (Adansonia gregorii)

Dr Ann Jones is an ABC Science journalist and presenter, with a history PhD and a love of nature and its noises. She presents ABC TV’s Catalyst including the special Australia’s Favourite Tree, Radio National’s What the Duck?!, ABC Kids’ Noisy by Nature, and the short films How Deadly.

Professor Tim Entwisle is a botanist, author, scientific communicator and Director and Chief Executive of Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. He presented Talking Plants on ABC radio, is a regular contributor to the ABC radio program Blueprint for Living, and writes articles for Gardening Australia.

Millie Ross is a professional horticulturist, garden designer, writer, researcher, and presenter with Gardening Australia. An innovative gardener with an unconventional approach, Millie specialises in creative construction and using plants in unusual ways. Author of The Thrifty Gardener; a practical guide to building the garden you want with whatever you’ve got, Millie aims to get everyone planting, growing and celebrating trees!

Media contacts:

  • Laura Boland, laura@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0408 166 426
  • Jane Watkins, jane@scienceinpublic.com.au or 0425 803 204.

 Quotes for use:

Quotes attributed to John Arnott, Manager Horticulture at Australian Native Garden.

“Trees have an important role of sequestering carbon in the atmosphere, and store vast amounts of carbon for centuries. They also provide the food, shelter and homes for so much of our native wildlife.”

“It’s almost impossible to see a ‘perfect’ Eucalyptus leaf – there are scars from invertebrate grazing, chewing and sucking, and there are the tell-tale signs of possum or koala browsing. It’s a food source. But overseas, Eucalypt trees present very differently because their leaves are close to perfect – there are different or fewer insects, birds and mammals that eat them.”

There’s a tree that I cycle past every day on my way to work, a Red Gum. I’ve looked at it consciously for 35 years. It fell over in a storm perhaps 50 years earlier (or more) and is now resting in a paddock on the ground. It is lying horizontal but still has some connectivity to the ground through a slither of the trunk and its roots. It has been throwing up new shoots and has persisted. Its resilience is remarkable.”

Quotes attributed to Peter Feilen, Horticulturist, Australian National Botanic Gardens

“In an urban context, trees reduce noise pollution; reduce summer heat; reduce air pollution; and soften the visuals of a hard urban landscape. A direct correlation between trees and an improved level of general and mental health has also been found.

“Personally, as an arborist and botanical gardens horticulturist I am privileged to have a very close relationship with trees; propagating, growing, planting and even climbing, which I probably love the most.”

“Trees will continue to play an important role mitigating climate change, by absorbing carbon to make wood. However, trees are also victims of climate change and other human activity, such as development and introduction of invasive species and diseases. They need our help.

“In the 2015 Global Tree Assessment it was found that 30% of tree species are threatened with extinction, and at least 142 tree species are recorded as extinct. Essentially, the message is that we need trees and trees need us.”