Designer trees are trees that lend a unique feature or that fulfill a function in a garden or landscape. They might have special attributes, such as being well-suited for the local climate, attractive to bees, butterflies, or birds. Or they could exhibit a unique shape that will harmonize with the buildings and other plants in an outdoor or even indoor setting. “Best” is often a subjective term, but there are some trees that are so unique, and so special that they are highly qualified as designer trees.
Australia is an extraordinary environment, and it has contributed several trees and other plants that are unique to its climate. These can often be adapted to areas that have similar growing conditions. They are adaptable, and frequently so individual in their shape, size, or adaptation to environment that they are incredible designer trees. There are also trees that have been brought to Australia from around the world that are also excellent designer trees.
Five Best Designer trees
- Bottle Tree (Brachychiton Rupestris) The Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton Rupestris) is distinguished from other bottle trees by its graceful, classic wine bottle trunk shape. Young trees might not have the bottle shape right away since it is a mean by which the tree stores water during the rainy season so that it will have its own moisture during dry seasons. In addition to this unique shape, this bottle tree has deep roots and wide branches. Most parts of the tree are either edible or useful. When in bloom, it attracts all sorts of flying creatures and gives off an attractive aroma.
- Glauca Grass Tree (xanthorrhoea glauca) This so-called grass tree is neither a tree or a grass. It is, strictly speaking, a large monocot. Monocots are plants that put up a single shoot from seed, rather than developing the more common dual leaf sprout. But that is not all that makes the glauca grass tree unique. It is an ancient species. Walking into a glauca grass tree forest, with the trees draped in moss, is like taking step back in time. You could almost expect a giant reptile to emerge from between the trunks. The part that appears to be a trunk is really several generations of downward reaching leaves that glue together with the glue-like sap. This characteristic makes it resistant to ordinary forest fires because the downward pointing leaves fuse together, protecting the more vulnerable trunk. Indeed, some varieties need an application of heat to stimulate seed production.
- Dragon Tree (Dracaena Draco) Who would not love to have their own source of dragon’s blood right in their backyard? This plant gets its name from the reddish sap that oozes from it when it is cut or damaged. In addition, the long, snaky branches, with their grass-like tufts, resemble shaggy heads stretching up against the sky. The sap is valued in some medical disciplines, as an ingredient for incense, as a glue, but especially as a dark, red finish for fine furniture and musical instruments. In addition, it makes a unique centerpiece for a low-water garden, with its dense umbrella shaped upper canopy.
- Mango Tree (mangifera indica) If you live in a tropical or subtropical area, this is the tree that has it all. It can grow to an enormous size, creating welcome shade. When it blooms, the delicate blossoms give off a pleasant aroma. Bees, birds, and other pollinators love this tree. After blooming it puts on obolid fruits that have a unique flavor. These fruits can be eating raw when ripe, can be pulped for juice, or can be candied or dried to preserve them. If you can have only one large tree in your tropical or subtropical area, the Mango is an excellent choice.
- Pandanus Tectorius (Pandanus Tectorius) There is absolutely nothing like having a tree that is named “tree.” Pandanus is the Malaysian word for tree. It is sometimes called screw pine or screw palm for the way the palm-like leaves grow. With that said, it is neither a palm or a pine, but is often an acceptable low-water substitute for palm trees. Its multi-root base helps it to hold on in high winds, areas of erosion, or in places that flood. In addition, it uses those multiple roots to hold onto craggy hillsides and cliff faces. Pandanus leaves are often harvested for their fibers, and are prized for thatching, grass skirts, or various types of weaving. They also produce an edible fruit whose seeds can be processed into a type of flour.
Keeping in mind that “best” often involves assessing your environment to see what sort of tree does well in your climate, we believe that you will agree that these five trees certainly qualify as excellent selections for feature trees. Each has a unique attribute that makes it stand out from other trees or tree-like growth.
Not sure where to find your preferred feature tree? Don’t want to wait for it to grow from seed? We are a licensed facility, specializing in placement of mature trees. Our Glauca Grass Trees are our special pride, but we also frequently care for bottle trees, including moving mature trees from places where they are not wanted to locations where they are desired.
Need help finding your special tree? Contact us. We are always glad to help.