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TREE NUMBER 26.
The Cottonwood is a fast-growing hardy native tree found in coastal sand dune and estuary areas, lagoons, tropical lowlands and subtropical rainforest from NSW to northern Queensland. It is a large spreading tree and can grow to 10 metres. The leaves are heart-shaped while the flowers are large with five delicate yellow petals contrasted with a deep red centre. The fruit is yellowish brown and releases its seed while still attached to the tree. Flowering is sporadic throughout the year.
A handy habitat for secretive birds such as herons and bitterns and a source of larval food for butterflies, the Cottonwood tends to form a colony of trees that are shady, salt and wind tolerant and help to hold together fragile sand dunes and soils.
First Nation peoples used strips from the leaf for twine and the fibrous bark for dilly bags, nets and ropes and heated the sapwood to make an antiseptic.
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