Gold in trees leads to hidden deposits

The scientists found traces of gold in the leaves of Eucalyptus trees

Money might not grow on trees, but scientists have confirmed that gold is found in the leaves of some plants.

Researchers from Australia say that the presence of the particles in a eucalyptus tree’s foliage indicates that deposits are buried many metres below.

They believe that the discovery offers a new way to locate the sought-after metal in difficult-to-reach locations.

Buried treasure

Gold particles have been found around the soils of eucalyptus trees, but the researchers confirmed that the plants were taking in the element.

Using the Australian synchrotron – a vast machine that uses X-rays to probe matter in remarkable detail – they found traces of gold in the leaves, twigs and bark of some trees.

The amounts of the precious metal were tiny.

The trees were taking in the gold particles as they drew in water from deep within the soil

“We’ve done a calculation, and found that we need 500 trees growing over a gold deposit to have enough gold in the trees themselves to make a gold ring,” said Dr Lintern.

However, the presence of the particles pointed to greater riches buried more than 30m (100ft) below.

Dr Lintern said: “We believe that the trees are acting like a hydraulic pump. They are bringing life-giving water from their roots, and in so doing, they are taking smaller dissolved gold particles up through the vascular system into the foliage.”

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