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Subalpine Snowgums

A distant snow shower dusts the Barrington Tops wilderness area, as viewed from Devil's Hole Lookout.

Before entering the forest, a subalpine meadow stretches into the distance, dominated by the silver-beige, ochre and pink-dappled trunks of snowgums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) glowing through soft white mist, on a moist day.

Snowgums cling to the edge of a precipice overlooking the headwaters of Moppy River.

In springtime, fields of bluebells (Wahlenbergia sp.) yellow and white paper daisies, (Helichrysum sp.) slender rice flowers (Pimelea ligustrina) and yellow billy buttons (Craspedia uniflora) flower between the grey-green snow grass (Poa sieberana) tussocks and strappy lomandra. Aboriginal people chewed the fleshy white end of the blade like leaves and ground the orange seeds of this matt rush into a type of starchy flour that was easily stored. Deep blue sun orchids (Thelymitra sp.) and lovely nodding green hoods (Pterostylis sp.) can be found in springtime, flowering on slender stems below the snowgums' grey-green leaves.

Hardy campers endure a night of snow at Polblue, the most elevated of the camping areas.

Young snowgums are easily identifiable from mountain gums (Eucalyptus dairympleana) here, as the juvenile leaves of the latter are round and grow opposite one another along the saplings' stems. Scribbles left by insects also distinguish snowgums from the very similar looking mountain gums. On the exposed slopes in both wet and dry eucalypt forests, messmate (Eucalyptus obliqua) and brown barrel (Eucalyptus fastigata) are dominant.