The Money Tree
Written by Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
Everyone knows that money doesn’t grow on trees, but how about inside tree leaves? Believe it or not, a new study finds it does. Well, sort of.
The Nature Communications journal has published a report according to which the Eucalyptus (Myrtaceae sp.) tree’s leaves accumulate gold. Though gold and money are not quite identical (they used to be before the Bretton Woods Agreement was nixed), this finding allows a more effective search for underground gold deposits in the Australian outback.
More sensitive modern analytical techniques let you determine the gold concentration in a small sample of Eucalyptus tree leaves with ease. Just analyze enough Eucalyptus tree leaves from all prospective mining areas and, voila, you’ll know exactly where your new gold mine ought to be located.
Of course, the knowledge that some plants may help you in finding mineral deposits is not new. Already in medieval times people recognized correlations of certain plants abundance with potential mine locations. There are many plants associated with specific minerals. That knowledge dates back hundreds or even thousands of years. For example, trace elements like zinc are important micro-nutrients for a variety of flowering plants. Naturally, you’ll find them in higher abundance in areas rich in zinc. The same is true for other micro-nutrients or trace elements like selenium, molybdenum and manganese. However, the association of the Eucalyptus tree with gold is new; at least to me.
Before you venture into the bush in search for Eucalyptus leaves shining with a golden glow, just remember not everything that glitters is gold. If the mine doesn’t pan out as envisaged blame it on the leaves. At the very least though, you should not suffer from any cold as Eucalyptus oil is a common constituent of cough and cold remedies.