Eucalypts have been described as egotistical trees, capable of dominating whole landscapes.
So there's something remarkable, then, about seeing one brought down to size.
The ancient art of bonsai meets the rugged fauna of Australia at an exhibition of the Canberra Bonsai Society held at the National Botanic Gardens this weekend.
Banksias, Acacias and Eucalyptus have all been trained by local bonsai artists, pairing the skills from Asia with the fauna of Australia.
Society president Tony Gill said creating a bonsai was a significant investment of time but also therapeutic.
"Trees have always been an attraction for people and to be able to have your own tree developed from whatever stage - whether it's seed, whether it's nursery stock, whether it's from a cutting - it's definitely satisfying," Mr Gill said.
Mr Gill said it was possible to start training bonsai from any stage of a plant's life and Australian plants made for excellent candidates.
"A bonsai starting from a seed can take 30, 40 years to be developed, so that's a long time. If you're starting later in your life, you might not have 40 years. A lot of people will start from nursery stock, some people will start from established stock. It really depends on where you're art," he said. "It's just you need to have the knowledge and the dedication and the patience to develop them. You also need to take your time. It will be over a 10, 15, 20-year time frame.
"That's the context you need to start with."
The Canberra Bonsai Society, one of the largest of its kind in Australia, was formed in 1975 and has held an annual exhibition of Australian plants as bonsai since 2003.
Last year's extreme temperatures have given way to a milder and wetter summer this year, all having an effect on local bonsai care.
Mr Gill said every tree had a story. "Trees in nature last for many years, often spanning greater than our own lives. Part of the charm of bonsai, part of what you're trying to achieve is the illusion of an old tree," he said.
"But you want to also be able to portray the story it has. I think that is part of the attraction too."
Exhibition open 9.30am-4.30pm, Sunday. Crosbie Morrison Building, National Botanic Gardens. $5 entry.
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