Friday, April 24, 2009
This matai bur resides in my garden and I love it. It's an honored guest. So much character in that knotted face.
You may know it as a bur, or a burr, or a burl. All are accepted spellings in various parts of the world of this type of knobbly overgrowth of wood.
The matai tree it came from would have been maybe 800 years old and we found the bur in an area where the native bush was logged about 40 years ago. It had been cut from the trunk when the log was milled and left lying on the ground as an unwanted waste product. How could anything so lovely been seen as waste? The area was then replanted in pine trees for timber and pulp where once again this fabulous matai burr was covered with scrub and blackberry until it was re-exposed when the pines were harvested. This time, the land is being converted to dairy farms.
So I'm happy to offer a home for this "old-timer" in my garden. He doesn't deserve to be buried or burnt or have cows poo on him!
The matai tree is a New Zealand native and can grow up to 25 meters tall and live for over 1000 years. A bur is usually the result of some injury where the tree responds by making too much growth. This one is about knee high and is the biggest we've ever seen.
Times have changed and now he is of value to people like wood turners. But he'll grace my garden with his wonderful presence until I shuffle off!
We have a number of matia burrs about the garden but this old man is our pride and joy.