While money doesn't grow on trees as the adage says, gold, by contrast, does! Recently a group of scientists from Down Under have discovered that gold has been naturally incorporated into a living organism. Australian researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization found gold particles-----measuring one-fifth of a human hairstrand's diameter-----existing in eucalyptus tree branches and leaves. The gold is not visible with the naked eye but can be detected through x-ray technology.
The Australian scientists hypothesize that as the eucalyptus trees search for water in the soil, gold is absorbed and then drawn up through the root system. But because the element can be toxic, the tree thereby moves the gold to its extremities, the leaves and branches, as a removal pathway and as a means of sequestering the metal away from the tree's central system (trunk).
The finding should not create a rush to cut down eucalyptus trees for gold, simply because it would not be a feasible venture. According to Melvyn Lintern, the research team's leader, it would take 500 trees to amass enough gold to make even a sliver of a ring that would fit a preschooler, much less a small wedding ring for an adult.
Still, the research finding means that searching for veins or lodes of the precious metal can be easier now that eucalyptus trees can serve as indicators of gold's presence in a region. Thus, drillers will be saved time, money, and effort in a cost-effective way. Plus, ground need not be cut up unnecessarily during exploratory mining, so that there is less environmental destruction to natural habitats. Indeed, Australian media has reported that planting eucalyptus trees is a more environmentally-friendly method of searching for gold hidden deep below the ground surface.