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35. XXXIV. Eucalyptus Consideneana, Maiden.

       
Description  312 
Notes supplementary to the description  312 
Range  313 
Affinities  315 




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Description.

XXXIV. Eucalyptus Consideniana, Maiden.

A TREE of medium height.

Juvenile leaves.—Narrow-lanceolate, petiolate, soon becoming alternate. A common size is a length of 3 inches with a width of ½ inch. I have them, however, both shorter and broader. They are narrower than those of E. Sieberiana, F.v.M., of E. piperita, Sm. Of a rather strong peppermint odour, and often of a silvery appearance. The young branchlets and seedling stems angular.

Mature leaves.—Commonly oblique and falcate, broadly lanceolate. I have them up to 9 inches in length, and nearly 2 inches in greatest width; they are rather thick in texture. Colour equally green on both sides, dull or shiny, blue-green or a bright sap-green. Veins strongly marked, spreading from the base, the intramarginal vein at a considerable distance from the edge, often looped (brachydodromous). “Leaves hang straight down” (Cambage).

Buds.—Usually clavate and sometimes with pointed opercula.

Flowers.—Anthers uniform.

Fruits.—Usually pyriform in shape, often nearly conical, rather more than ¼ inch in diameter. The valves often well sunk below the rim, but the points of the valves occasionally protruding. Sometimes the rim is slightly domed and the valves rather more exserted. The rim broad, smooth, well-defined, and usually red in colour.

A medium sized tree with grey tough bark to the tips of the branches, said bark being of that sub-fibrous character well known in Australia as “peppermint,” very like that of E. piperita, but very different from that of E. Sieberiana.

Timber.—Wood pale-coloured, with kino rings, remarkably like that of the common Sydney Peppermint (E. piperita, Sm.). “Soft and ringy; not nearly so good as Mountain Ash, E. Sieberiana” (Boorman).

Notes supplementary to the description.

I name this species in honour of First-Assistant Surgeon D. Considen, one of the founders of Australia. In reviewing the “Historical Records of New South Wales” (Vol. I, Part 2) in the Sydney Morning Herald of 23rd July, 1892, I drew attention to the fact that Considen's letter, dated 18th November, 1788, to Sir Joseph Banks, is perhaps the most interesting one in the collection to the student of economic botany. From the following passage it would appear that Considen was the founder of the eucalyptus oil industry: “We have a large peppermint tree, which is equal, if not superior, to our English peppermint. I have sent you a specimen of it. If there is any merit in applying these and many other simples to the benefit of the poor wretches here, I certainly claim it, being the first who discovered and recommended them.” At this time a bottle of Eucalyptus oil was sent to Sir Joseph Banks by Governor Phillip. I further wrote in the review: “I think that some effort should be made to rescue the name of the first user of Australian plants from oblivion. I trust that at least a species will be named after the pioneer before many months are over.”

I regret that the matter slipped my memory on more than one occasion, but I now dedicate to his memory a species very closely allied to that from which he distilled the first Australian eucalyptus oil. (Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., 475, 1904.)




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The species can be most conveniently distinguished by its pyriform fruits and “peppermint” bark; the narrow sucker-leaves are also characteristic. Mr. R. H. Cambage, who has prominently brought this tree under my notice, gives the local names as “Peppermint” or “White Mahogany”; Mr. Boorman as “Messmate.”

In Gippsland it seems more of a Stringybark; with rough bark here, as elsewhere, right up to the very tips of the branches. It has a yellowish cast on the bark, which is perhaps rougher than that of the type, but certainly smoother than that of the stringybarks. “Yertchuk” trees have patches of bark thinner than that of the remainder of the bark, and “rubbed looking” and Peppermint-like.

Range.

IN coastal and coast-range districts of New South Wales, and Gippsland, Victoria, extending in the former State, as far as is known at present, from the Clyde River in the south, across the country to near Goulburn, thence viâ Burragorang to the Blue Mountains (Wolgan), and the Penang Mountain near Gosford. Doubtless the species will be found in localities intermediate between the Clyde River and Gippsland.

NEW SOUTH WALES.

Southern Districts.—Nelligen, Clyde River (J. L. Boorman). This is the most southerly locality known to me in New South Wales.

“Looks like a Peppermint (piperita); has rough grey bark.” On sandy ground, Burrill, Milton (R. H. Cambage).

Grows on sandy, rather barren soil. Grey bark right out on branches, something like that of E. piperita. Nearest affinity may be E. Sieberiana, but it is distinct from that species in the bark. Leaves hang straight down. Timber fairly hard. Pigeon House, Milton, to within 100 feet of the top (R. H. Cambage).

Rather stunted trees, bark rough, soft, from the base up to tips of branches, grey in colour. Leaves not so large as E. Sieberiana, but the bark differing both in texture and colour. The wood is soft and ringy, not nearly so good as “Mountain Ash” (Sieberiana) which it in many respects resembles, partly in the fruit, but more like piperita in bark. Wingello (J. L. Boorman).

Following is a report made on a subsequent visit to Wingello:—

“Messmate.” Medium sized trees, rough bark to the tips of the branches, not ribbony. In appearance reminds one of E. Sieberiana, but smoother and softer in the bark, having an affinity to a Stringybark. Distributed abundantly over an area of half a mile in the vicinity of Kingston's saw-mills, Wingello (J. L. Boorman).

“Fairly smooth, fibrous bark, something like piperita and distinct from the rough bark of Sieberiana” (top of Mountain, east of Burragorang, 3 or 4 miles). Hawkesbury Sandstone (R. H. Cambage).

Top of Barrengarry Mountain. Medium sized trees. Poor sandstone, rocky soil (R. H. Cambage and J.H.M.).




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Western Localities.—Mr. Cambage and I found E. Consideniana in full bloom (November, 1904) and not rare near the 40-mile post on the road from Sydney, 4½ miles east of Springwood. This the nearest locality to Sydney so far.

The Valley, near Springwood (H. Deane and J.H.M.); Faulconbridge; common near the 10-mile post (road), and the last tree observed near the road was near the western boundary of Portion 12, Parish of Linden (nearly midway between Linden and Woodford Stations). In full flower at 10 feet high, and the only Eucalypt in full flower in the district (12th November). (R. H. Cambage and J.H.M.)

On Hawkesbury Sandstone, top of mountain, north of Wolgan Shale Mine. “Growing near E. piperita, E. Sieberiana, E. eugenioides, E. punctata. The most north-western locality known to me” (R. H. Cambage).

Northern Locality.—Penang Mountain, Gosford (J.H.M. and J. L. Boorman).

“Very like a Peppermint in appearance, only the bark is not so stringy—more flaky, white smooth limbs. A fair sized tree and scarce.” Penang (A. Murphy).

VICTORIA.

In his “Eucalypts of Gippsland,” Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict., ii, 82, 84, 85, Dr. (then Mr.) A. W. Howitt speaks of a broad-leaved form of E. amygdalina, known to the aborigines as “Katakatak” or “Yertchuk.” This is his E. amygdalina (d). He also mentions a broad-leaved amygdalina (b) which is E. dives, Schauer (E. amygdalina, Labill.; var. latifolia, Deane and Maiden).

As regards the “Yertchuk,” (variety d) I have received excellent specimens from Dr. Howitt, and refer them to E. Consideniana.

What Dr. Howitt (loc cit.) says about the “Yertchuk” is as follows:—

It grows most freely upon the rather poor sandy and clay lands of the littoral tracts, but I have also observed it in the mountains — for instance, where poor sandy tracts occur, as well as on the quartz grits and conglomerates at Wild Horse Creek, Wentworth River, on the Upper Silurian sediments, between Toongabbie and Walhalla, the Silurian sediment in the Tambo Valley Road, the Upper Devonian formations of the Insolvent Track, the Devonian porphyries at Gelantipy, and the Silurian formations at Delegate River.

It rarely grows more than 100 feet in height, but is generally a rather small tree, often stunted. The bark classes it with the Stringybarks, for it is fibrous and persistent up to the smaller branches, somewhat resembling that of E. obliqua, but thinner, more fissile, and lighter in colour. For roofing purposes the bark is worthless, and the timber of no value for splitting or sawing, having the soft, veiny character of some types of amygdalina.

The seedlings have opposed, narrow, lanceolar leaves, with, occasionally, tufts of hairs and frequently wavy margins.

The opposed character of the leaves is not maintained beyond the first two or three pairs, and the leaves then become ovate lanceolar, resembling, in their pointed and unequal-sided form, those of E. obliqua, though rarely as large. They are thick in consistence, of a dull green, and not shiny, in the latter trait resembling those of E. Sieberiana.

The umbels have numerous buds, with the typical form of E. amygdalina, to which also the shape of the calyx tube, the short style, and depressed lid belong. The fruit is ovate, top-shaped, with a flat and slightly convex margin, and small deltoid valves.

The tree is found at a height of 100 feet above sea level at Merriman's Creek and the Bairnsdale to Buchan Road, to 2,500 feet at the Upper Wentworth River. I have not observed it on the mountain plateaux, even where they descend to the latter height, and conclude that it is a littoral species which ascends the coast ranges.




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Affinities.

1 and 2. With E. piperita, Sm., and E. Sieberiana, F.v.M.

The closest affinity of this species is to E. Sieberiana and E. piperita; in fact, it is possible that it is a hybrid between these two species.

In expressing this opinion, I desire to make a note inculcating caution. It is sometimes difficult to properly assign the use of names; for the fact is, all species have probably arrived at their present development largely by means of hybridism. The following will illustrate what I mean:—

E. Consideniana perhaps has E. piperita and E. Sieberiana blood in its veins. We therefore might perhaps explain its position by saying that it is a hybrid between these two. But if E. Consideniana had been described first, it perhaps would not have occurred to botanists to describe, say, E. piperita as a hybrid of it.

Dr. Howitt writes to me: “I have been turning over in my mind your remarks re possible hybridisation in ‘Yertchuk.’ I am doubtful about it, because it forms a considerable part of the forests in a stretch of some 20 miles. In one part there is E. Sieberiana, but not elsewhere. I do not know of E. piperita, but E. eugenioides occurs throughout the forests together with another Stringybark.”

Since the above was written, I have had the opportunity, in the company of Mr. J. L. King, who travelled a good deal with Dr. Howitt in Gippsland, of inspecting the Yertchuk country from the head of Dead Horse Creek to near Boggy Creek. The prevailing eucalypt is E. Sieberiana, with a little E. eugenioides. There is no E. piperita, as Dr. Howitt states. Yertchuk may be a hybrid still, i.e., between E. Sieberiana and E. eugenioides, the slight differences between the New South Wales and Victorian trees being perhaps explained by the absence of E. piperita in Gippsland.

Of course, hybridism is merely an explanation of the origin of E. Consideniana to begin with; the type once established and coming true from seed, it would become propagated in time in districts in which neither of its reputed first parents (piperita and Sieberiana) are to be found. I will discuss the matter again when dealing with the general subject of hybridisation in Eucalypts.

With E. piperita, Sm

The bark is fibrous like that of E. piperita, and the general appearance of the tree reminds one of that species.

E. piperita fruits in large masses or bunches, while E. Consideniana is a comparatively shy fruiter.

With E. Sieberiana, F.v.M.

The leaves, buds, and fruits are reminiscent of E. Sieberiana, though the leaves are perhaps thinner. The narrow juvenile foliage leaves, however, separate E. Consideniana from any with which it is most likely to be confounded. The Penang fruits are not perfectly typical; they show more than ordinary resemblance to those of E. Sieberiana.




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The Blue Mountains trees of E. Sieberiana have not, as a rule, the furrowed Ironbark-looking bark of the typical form, and, speaking in general terms, the bark of E. Consideniana presents some resemblance also to the bark of the trees of E. Sieberiana, with which it is associated.

3. With E. Andrewsi, Maiden.

Compare pp. 195, 196, Part VII of this work. The fruits of E. Consideniana are conoid to pyriform. Those of E. Andrewsi may be conoid, but they are smaller in size than those of Consideniana. Both are “Messmates,” and the affinities of the two species require more working out in the field. At present we have a gap between the localities of E. Consideniana (going north) and those of E. Andrewsi. If possible, I want to see if either or both species occur in this gap, and, if they grow together, whether the fruits of E. Consideniana become smaller. The two species have marked dissimilarities, and cannot be confused in their typical forms.

4. With E. virgata, Sieb., var. stricta.

That the species possesses affinity to this variety there is no doubt.

In some fruits the base of the capsule is remarkably constricted, the whole being pear-shaped; the rim is broad and somewhat sunk in some specimens. Since this was first observed, the fruit has been found to be more domed when fully ripe, and hence the similarity to var. strìcta is less strong. What was described later as E. Consideniana was referred to by Mr. Deane and myself as a variety of E. stricta in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., 1900, p. 109.

5. With E. regnans, F.v.M., var. fastigata.

Its affinity to this variety is considerable, in points other than that of the shape of the fruit. The barks of the two trees are not very dissimilar, but E. Consideniana prefers drier, rockier situations than E. regnans, var. fastigata. It was referred to by Mr. Deane and myself as a pyriform-fruited fastigata in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., 1901.

6. With E. hæmastoma, Sm.

The fruit is somewhat like that of E. hæmastoma in shape, particularly the large-fruited, coastal Sydney form, which is typical. Of course, E. hæmastoma is a Gum (i.e. a smooth-barked species).

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