While it’s not new that plants and trees absorb minerals such as gold through their leaves, scientists had previously been unable to prove that the minerals in question came from deeper underground and not from surface soil deposits. The paper’s authors hope that their findings will turn into a trusted form of gold prospecting.

According to the paper, eucalyptus and acacia trees, such as the ones studied at the Freddo and Barns Gold prospects in Western and South Australia respectively, have deep and extensive root systems. In times of drought, their roots dig deep in search of water. So deep, in fact, that some trees have literally struck gold.