The Marianne North Tree is a landmark of the Warren National Park near Pemberton – a tall karri tree with a massive burl growing all the way round a large section of its trunk. Many karri trees have burls and other odd shapes growing out of them but this one is larger than most and is quite unusual for growing in a symmetrical ring around the tree.
The Marianne North Tree gets its name and fame from being featured in a 1880/1881 painting by the English botanical artist and traveller Marianne North (1830 – 1890). The original painting can be seen in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew Gardens in London.
When you visit the tree you’ll see just how little the scene of the painting has changed in over 130 years.
Who Was Marianne North?
Marianne North’s life work was travelling extensively throughout the world and detailing its many and varied plants in her writings and paintings. Back in the 19th century journeying as far as Australia and New Zealand from England was a huge undertaking and much more adventurous than it is today, and realistic colour paintings of the exotic plantlife she found would have been a real novelty!
She was hugely prolific in her work and her paintings provide a historical record for many places around the world.
Visiting the Marianne North Tree
The Marianne North Tree is located right by the road side on the gravel Old Vasse Highway, the main road through Warren National Park. Old Vasse Highway is part of both the Karri Forest Explorer Drive and the Warren National Park Scenic Drive. The tree is on the south side of the road, west of the Bicentennial Tree and east of the entrance to the Heartbreak Trail.
If you compare the scene of the Marianne North Tree and the other trees on either side of it, it’s surprising how much it looks the same today as it did in 1880. It’s a reminder of how special Western Australia’s beautiful old growth karri forests are, not to mention how old the towering trees must be.
On our most recent trip down to Pemberton we were lazy and didn’t hop out of the car as we drove past the Marianne North Tree – but we didn’t need to as the tree was right there only a few metres from the open car windows and we could even read the information sign without any difficulty.
Last Updated: 24th August, 2015.
First posted on 15th July, 2015 by Bonny.
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