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Saffire Celery Top

Celery Top Pine

Celery top is a natural, durable and tough, fine grained timber.

The timber

The wood is creamy white when freshly cut and darkens to a mellow rosy gold hue over time and with exposure to sunlight. The timber has distinct annual rings with pronounced latewood. Slowly grown, it has a hardness, strength, and density not normally associated with conifers.

Celery top is light and easy to work. It turns well and has long been employed in the traditional crafts of boat building and spindle turning. The timber is valued for its durability and it withstands exposure well, especially out of ground contact. A tough wood, it provides a hard wearing surface for flooring and has an attractive fine-grained appearance. Features such as knots and other figure provide character to furniture constructed of Celery top. Knots are sound and hard, the timber planes and sands well and accepts varnish, stains, and paint readily.

The resource

Celery Top is common in cool temperate rainforests. It can grow as an understorey tree or, in the right conditions, become a dominant species. Growing between 0–800 m above sea level, it tolerates a wide spectrum of soil types, except for really dry or poor quality soil. It is sensitive to climatic conditions and prefers a wet environment. 

Celery Top is very sensitive to fires, and can be eliminated by the continual occurrence of bushfires.It grows very slowly, and trees with a 60cm diameter are around 400 years old. Celery Top can grow readily from cuttings. While its seeds are hard to germinate under horticultural conditions, germination is quite prolific with natural dispersion. 

Celery Top occurs mainly in the west and south-west of the state, and in small communities on the east coast, Maria and Bruny islands, the Tasman Peninsula, and in the north-east Blue Tiers. The total forest type for Celery Top in reserve is 82%.

The Tree

A renowned native conifer of Tasmania, Celery Top Pine’s growth is regular and symmetrical, with the foliage grouping at the end of branches. It reaches a height of 15–40m, and a trunk width of 85cm. Named as a pine, it does not resemble pines in appearance and is related to yew trees.

The striking flowers of the Celery Top are a form of cone; with a black seed encased in a white sheath above a red fleshy aril.They are monoecious, with flowers being either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant.

The Celery Top was named for the celery-like appearance of its leaves. These are not leaves but flattened stems or cladodes. Pale green juvenile growth occurs in spring and autumn, while adult leaves are dark green, thick and leathery. The leaves contain numerous oil cavities.

The bark is dark grey or dark reddish brown. On older trees it splits into rectangular plates. It contains numerous pores, which give it a knobbly appearance.

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