In late April and early May, Australia’s only native deciduous tree Nothofagus gunnii changes colour in a brilliant display in Tasmania’s sub-alpine highlands. The common name is Deciduous Beech, but most Tasmanians know it as fagus and the ”turning of the fagus” is an much-anticipated event in Tasmania.The bush is found only in Tasmania and commonly grows to about 2 metres high, forming an almost inpenetrable tangle around lakes and waterways, hence its other common name “tanglefoot”.
The fagus plants lose their leaves in response to the cold, dark winters in the highlands. As the plants shut down, the leaves lose their chlorophyll, change colour to brilliant yellows, oranges and reds and eventually fall to the ground.
The best places to see the brilliant colour display are at Mt Field and around Cradle Mountain. At Mt Field the Tarn Shelf is an annual pilgrimage for many on ANZAC Day, while the best place to see it at Cradle Mountain is around Crater Lake.
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