Or does it?
Au yes it does…
It would seem that scientists in Western Australia have been really branching out in their research; the team have recently discovered macroscopic gold particles in the leaves of Eucalyptus trees growing above gold ore deposits. The leaves were found to have an unusually high concentration of gold on their surface.
Pretty oresome right?
Well, the gold doesn’t actually grow on the trees, but it is stored in the leaves and twigs. It is thought that gold is toxic to plants, so when the gold is taken up into the roots, it is transported to the leaves and twigs as a defence mechanism. The biochemical reactions which take place between the gold and the plant are therefore restricted to areas where damage is not fatal to the plant.
But don’t go barking up the wrong tree…
Whilst particles of approximately 8 micrometres have been found in the leaves, the actual percentage gold content is low and the difficult process of extracting the very thin particles would make harvesting the gold ineffectual.
‘Gold trees’ could however be used by engineers to indicate the presence of gold deposits in the soil below; and with the demand for gold high and supply low, the opportunity for miners to exploit this discovery has never been more golden!