36. XXXV. Eucalyptus hæmastoma, Smith.

Description  317 
The type form  317 
Varieties  318 
Synonyms  319 
Range  321 
Affinities  322 

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XXXV. Eucalyptus hæmastoma, Sm.

Trans. Linn. Soc. iii (1797), 286. See also “Eucalyptographia” (Mueller).

Following is the original description:—

Operculo hemisphærico depresso mucronulato, umbellis lateralibus, terminalibusque: pedunculis compressis, ramulis angulatis, fructu subgloboso.

The leaves are coriaceous, lanceolate, terminating in a long linear point.

Flowers in umbels, not capitula, their covers depressed at the top, but suddenly terminating in a little point.

Fruit globose, cut off at the summit, its orifice surrounded by a broad deep-red border.

This species has a great affinity with the Leptospermum umbellatum of Gaertner, but I dare not assert it to be the same.

The type form.—The species is found in two principal forms—a coarse form (the type), and a slender one; the latter with small flowers and fruits, and known as variety micrantha in consequence.

As regards the type, the leaves, flowers, and fruits are alike larger, and the leaves thicker, but, as a rule, the tree itself does not attain the magnitude of its variety.

With Bentham's amplified description of the species as given in B.Fl. iii, 212, I, in the main, agree, so that it will only be necessary to add a few notes.

Vernacular names.—“White Gum” is the commonest and most appropriate name for this species.

Bark.—Smooth, with a few ribbony flakes near the butt.

Timber.—Red, and of an inferior character, though a fairly lasting timber for posts in the districts in which it grows.

Juvenile leaves.—Broadly lanceolate, somewhat similar in shape to the adult leaves, only larger; 4 to 6 inches long by 1¼ inch broad, are measurements of some from the Sydney district.

Mature leaves.—Coriaceous, thick, spreading, and veins very distinct, oblique, and several starting from near the base of the leaf. As in the case of some other species, the mature foliage of trees growing close to the sea is very coarse and thick.

Peduncles.—Angular and flattened.

Calyx-tube.—Much longer than the operculum and insensibly tapering into the pedicel.

Operculum.—Pointed when young, becoming more hemispherical as maturity is approached. Often the buds may be described as clavate.

Fruits.—Speaking generally, the shape of the fruits reminds one of a pear. The rim is more or less domed and usually brownish or red (hence the specific name). I do not agree that, speaking at all generally, “the capsule is slightly depressed,” as stated at B.Fl. iii, 212.

Pedicels not so thin, being more tapering than is the case with var. micrantha.

Sometimes the fruits are hardly pear-shaped, but this is unusual. We have some nearly hemispherical, but much larger than those of var. micrantha. At the same time, there are fruits which undoubtedly show transition between E. hæmastoma and its variety micrantha.

The anther is reniform and is figured at fig. 14d, plate 47. It seems to differ very little whether typical or var. micrantha.

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(1) The small-fruited form (variety micrantha).

Vernacular names.—“White Gum” is a very common name. It, however, in one or other of the many districts in which it occurs, usually goes under some name referring to the softness or brittleness of its timber, e.g., “Cabbage Gum,” “Snappy Gum,” “Brittle Gum,” “Brittle Jack.”

Bark.—Smooth, right to the ground. The colour of the bark is usually white, but sometimes, particularly in localities comparatively remote from the sea, the bark is at certain seasons of the year yellowish. I have seen the trunk as yellow as if washed with yellow ochre. Away from the sea, also, the bark appears to have a greater tendency to peel off in patches, giving it more or less a spotted appearance.

Timber.—Soft, red. An excellent timber for fencing posts, and in some districts, especially the southern table-land, preferred for this purpose. At the same time, excellence is comparative, and in the coast districts we find other timbers of special merit.

Juvenile leaves.—Nearly ovate, then nearly oblong (rounded at both ends), and with crenulate margins. As growth proceeds, they become attenuate at both ends and somewhat falcate.

The seedling leaves tend to be vertical, and therefore are equally green (blue-green) on both sides. The twigs are red, as also in mature specimens. Venation less acute than in E. Sieberiana.

They then become alternate, ovate-lanceolate, very acuminate, a little oblique, up to 6 inches long and 2½ inches broad. The intramarginal vein much removed from the edge. From this stage the foliage gradually develops into the mature stage.

Mature leaves.—These vary somewhat, which is not a matter for surprise, considering the extensive range of the tree. They are often thick and glossy. Those from Bargo Brush are of this character, and 5½ inches long and 1 to 1½ broad. Those from Queanbeyan are narrow-lanceolate. Some in the Sydney district are quite small, usually not exceeding 3 by ½ inch. The foliage of many trees in the Mudgee district is quite sparse. In the Macleay and Hastings districts the trees frequently have broadish, lanceolate long leaves up to 7 inches by 1½. Sometimes the leaves are hooked at the ends, a character more general in Eucalypts than was at one time supposed.

But there is no doubt that the leaves of this form pass insensibly into those of the normal species. Specimens from the Blue Mountains (e.g., Mt. Victoria) show this transition very clearly.

Operculum.—Nearly hemispherical or with a small umbo; perhaps less pointed than in the typical form.

Fruits.—The fruits are usually as flat-topped (they are but rarely slightly domed) as in any species of Eucalyptus, and therefore are not satisfactorily represented in the figure of E. hæmastoma in the “Eucalyptographia.” The fruits are small, nearly hemispherical, rarely tapered below, have thin pedicels, and are usually numerous. Some from Queanbeyan are [?] of an inch in diameter. Those from Bargo, &c., have flat tops and sharp rims. Some from the Mudgee district and South Coast afford instances of slight doming of the fruits. Occasionally they are depressed hemispherical—almost tazza-shaped. They are often pale-coloured and with markedly red mouths.

I have fruits from Mt. Wilson which, though quite small, taper like those of normal hæmastoma, and are in some respects connecting links.

Size.—Usually 30 or 40 feet in height, with a trunk diameter of 2 or 3 feet.

Mr. Andrew Murphy, in sending me specimens from Morisset, has trto differentiate between the type-form and the small-fruited form in the following words:—

  • “1. Broad-leaved White Gum, similar to narrow-leaved variety in appearance, much larger tree, generally grows in high dry country. Both these Gums are similar to E. coriacea. Large fruits.”
  • “2. Narrow-leaved White Gum. A very white bark to the ground. Straight tree. Small fruits.”

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But I repeat that the two forms run into each other and represent, in my view, climatic and soil differences only.

(2) var. capitata, var. nov.

In some cases, trees belonging to this species have fruits in dense heads. In these trees the foliage is coarser and larger than that of var. micrantha usually is; at the same time, the fruits, while numerous in the head, have thicker pedicels than those of var. micrantha; as regards size, the fruits are intermediate between the type and its variety. The bark is smooth.

This form, for which I propose the name variety capitata, is figured at 6, Plate xxx, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxii (1897), by Mr. Deane and myself, under var. micrantha.

The type is Mt. Victoria, 1st April, 1889 (J. H. Maiden). There are closely allied forms, not strictly capitate, and it occurs on the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury Ranges.


  • 1. E. micrantha, DC.
  • 2. E. signata, F.v.M.

1. E. micrantha, DC. Following is the original description:—

Operculo conico cupulae longitudine, pedunculis angulatis petioli longitudine axillaribus et subterminalibus, umbellis 15–20—floris, foliis oblongis coriaceis basi attenuatis longè acuminatis nervulis antè marginem confluentibus. In Novâ-Hollandiâ, Sieb., plant ex. n. 497. Folia utrinquè lucida, petiolo semipollicari, laminâ 6–7 poll. longâ, pollicem latâ, venis penniformibus. Alabastra ovoidea generis minima.—(Prod. iii, 217.)

I have examined Sieber's No. 497, and it is var. micrantha.

2. E. signata, F.v.M. This is described in Journ. Linn. Soc. iii, 85 (1859). Mueller quotes for his type specimens,—“In hills and wooded grassy hills near the Brisbane River.” Also Macarthur's Sydney Woods, Paris Exhibition, No. 163 in herb. Hook. He also states that it is called “Spotted Gum” in the Moreton Bay district.

I have a specimen of Mueller's type from Kew, besides which I saw it at Kew. It is typical var. micrantha.

Macarthur's specimen was exhibited under No. 163 for the Paris Exhibition of 1855 and under No. 30 for the London Exhibition of 1862. His label is, “Aboriginal name in Cumberland and Camden, ‘Caarambuy.’ Known as ‘White Gum.’ Diameter, 24–40 inches. Height, 60–80 feet. Not much valued, being generally of crooked growth.” This also is typical var. micrantha.

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Following is a doubtful form, and I am not yet satisfied as to whether it can be separated from var. micrantha, although the authors think the two forms are identical.

E. Rossii, R. T. Baker and H. G. Smith, “Research on the Eucalypts,” p. 70 (1902). See also Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxviii, 352 (1903).

The authors give E. micrantha, DC., as a synonym, and state, “Research on the Eucalypts,” p. 71: “Leaves were obtained (for oil) from Cow Flat, Bathurst.” In the following year Mr. Baker (op. cit., xxviii, 352) says: “Camboon is the only locality I have collected it” (so that we really have two localities). Bungendore (see oil analysis) is a third locality. See also xxi, 448.

The authors, op. cit., p. 71, say: “The oil had no resemblance to that of E. hæmastoma of Smith, the ‘Scribbly Gum’ of the coast.”

Under E. hæmastoma, Sm., the authors give E. signata, F.v.M., as a synonym, and this is identical with E. micrantha, DC., as already shown.

The analyses of the oils of E. hæmastoma and E. Rossii, as given by the authors, are herewith:—

Species  Whence collected for oil.  Specific gravity at 15°C.  Specific rotation [a]D   Saponification number.  Solubility in Alcohol.  Constituents found. 
hæmastoma …  Barber's Creek, N.S.W.; Gosford.  0.9195  -32.77° (first fraction).  5.1  Insoluble  Phellandrene, eucalyptol, sesquiterpene. 
Rossii …  Cow Flat, Bathurst; Bungendore.  0.9168 to 0.9215  +7.8° to +7.9°  7.95  1¼ vols. 70 

The type specimens (from Camboon) have pale-coloured foliage. An umbel of flowers and a leaf are figured by Mr. Deane and myself at fig. 14, Plate xxxi, and an umbel of fruits from the Grenfell District is figured at fig. 13 of the same Plate (Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxii, 1897). In the legend of the Plate the Grenfell fruits are described as having “thin long pedicels and flat-topped sharp-rimmed fruits. Sometimes there are twenty in a head.”

The Grenfell and Camboon specimens have much in common, and, except in the number of flowers in an umbel (not a very definite character), I see no difference between them. As regards the sharp-rimmed fruits of the Grenfell specimens, we have them sometimes not sharp, and they seem identical with those of Camboon.

Camboon timber “is very hard, red coloured, and durable, and is far superior to that of E. hæmastoma” (R. T. Baker). Mr. Forester Postlethwaite, who collected the Grenfell specimens and was a sound bushman, says: “Quality of timber indifferent.”

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I have specimens which are very close to Mr. Baker's E. Rossii from Adelong (also from a local forester who did not append his name to them).

The anther of (?) E. Rossii is depicted at fig. 15, Plate 47, and it seems to be more compact, less reniform, and with the cells less divergent than those of E. hæmastoma usually are. Compare figure 14d of the same Plate.

I do not see my way to withdraw E. Rossii from E. hæmastoma, var. micrantha, with such evidence as I have at present. It seems that the Grenfell specimens connect the coastal specimens of var. micrantha, and both Camboon and Grenfell have more or less western climatic influence, so that we expect some difference.


THE specimens are all var. micrantha unless the contrary is indicated.

The typical species apparently does not extend beyond the Hawkesbury sandstone, and is most abundant not far from Port Jackson, the Hawkesbury and George's River, and the ridges and broken country in the vicinity. While the range is not very precisely defined at present (I have it from the Newcastle District), that of the variety micrantha is undoubtedly very much more extensive.

Besides New South Wales, it is also found in Queensland, and in our own State it extends from north to south, and from the coast across the table-land to at least as far south as Tumut, and west to the head of the Castlereagh River.

It is common in the National Park as well as around Port Jackson and County of Cumberland generally, and we have all sizes of fruits from as small to as large as seen anywhere.

No. 4,754, of Robert Brown (1802–5), distributed by J. J. Bennett in 1876, is var. micrantha.

Southern Localities.—Cambewarra, fruits of medium size (W. Baeuerlen); Badgery's Crossing to Nowra, fruits intermediate (W. Forsyth and A. A. Hamilton); Nowra (J. V. de Coque); Jervis Bay, fruits nearly as large as those of the type (J.H.M.); Bankstown and Cabramatta, very small fruits (J. L. Boorman); Appin, on cold sandy flats (J.H.M.); with large fruits near the type, Cataract Dam (E. Cheel); flats, Picton to Bargo (J.H.M.); Hill Top, on flats and also on ridges. Fruits sometimes a little pear-shaped (J.H.M.); Wingello, fruits of intermediate size (J. L. Boorman); Barber's Creek (J.H.M.); “Brittle Jack,” Pomeroy, Goulburn (H. Deane); Bungendore, fruits medium size (A. W. Howitt); granite hills, near Bungendore, south of Lake George. The thickening of the pedicels gives the fruits an almost conical form (W. S. Campbell); “Brittle Gum,” filiform fruit stalks, Queanbeyan (H. Deane); Adelong, Hills S.W. (½ mile) from Mt. Horeb Railway Station (R. H. Cambage); Cooma (on gneiss) (R. H. Cambage).

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Western Localities.—Penrith, with unusually small fruits (J.H.M. and J. L. Boorman).

The small-fruited form continues the whole way across the Mountains, and is confined to the poor soil, avoiding the deep valleys.

Mt. Wilson, on the sandstone (Jesse Gregson). Some of these specimens have flat-topped and rather large fruits, and resemble a good deal those from Grenfell referred to under E. Rossii. They also have affinity to var. capitata as regards the shape of the fruits.

Capertee (J. L. Boorman). In fruit only, and may be compared with the Camboon specimens (see E. Rossii); Mudgee No. 10 F.; Apsley (R. H. Cambage) Perth (J. L. Boorman).

“Near the head of the Castlereagh River, which extends the range of the species further towards the westward than it has previously been found in this latitude. It is a large tree, and is locally known as ‘Cabbage Gum’” (W. Forsyth).

Northern Localities.—Berowra, large fruits (J.H.M. and J. L. Boorman); Tuggerah Lakes (J.L.B.); Morisset (A. Murphy); Dudley, near Newcastle, with fruits as large as ever found near Sydney (Jesse Gregson); Belmont, near Newcastle (Jesse Gregson); Raymond Terrace (A. Rudder); Failford to Forster (J.H.M.); Port Macquarie (G. R. Brown); Port Macquarie to Kempsey (J.H.M.); Moonambah, Brunswick River (W. Baeuerlen); “Tumble-down Gum,” Hillgrove and Enmore, Armidale District (J. F. Campbell); Emmaville (J. L. Boorman).


“Spotted Gum,” type of E. signata, F.v.M. Brisbane River, from F. v. Mueller, from Kew.

“White or Sugar Gum,” of no utility. Maryborough (W. H. Williams).

“Eucalyptus scarcely distinct from E. hæmastoma, Sm., Moreton Bay, 1824, A.C.” This specimen of Allan Cunningham in Herb. Cant. ex herb. Lindl. is var. micrantha.

Archer's Station, Rockhampton (Leichhardt).


1. With E. Sieberiana.

As regards the vernacular names in the “Flora Australiensis,” Cunningham's name of “Blackbutt” is a misnomer, and has probably arisen from confusion of the species with the “Mountain Ash” (E. Sieberiana), and the name of “Mountain Ash” for E. hæmastoma has probably arisen through too close reliance upon herbarium specimens, those of E. hæmastoma and E. Sieberiana being frequently difficult to discriminate unless complete material be available.

As compared with E. Sieberiana, there is a close affinity in juvenile foliage. See E. Sieberiana, p. 306.

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2. With E. virgata, Sieb.

Herbarium specimens sometimes exhibit a good deal of similarity. I have a flat-topped fruit (not quite ripe) of the large-fruited kind of hæmastoma from Peat's-road, Hawkesbury River, which was named E. virgata by an excellent authority.

3. With E. Luehmanniana, F.v.M.

The juvenile leaves present a good deal of resemblance. There is a closer resemblance between typical hæmastoma and Luehmanniana, variety altior, which it may be sufficient to draw attention to.

4. With E. coriacea, A. Cunn.

The large-fruited or typical hæmastoma may resemble those of E. coriacea a good deal, but the venation of the leaves is different. E. hæmastoma has clean white stems much after the appearance of E. coriacea.

5. With E. Gunnii, Hook, f., var. maculosa.

This will be dealt with when the variety is reached.

In 1901 (Proc. Linn. Soc., N.S.W., p. 125), Mr. Deane and I described, under the name of E. hæmastoma, Sm., var. montana, a shrubby plant only 2 or 3 feet high, from Mt. Victoria, collected by myself. The bark of so small a shrub was no guide, and the blood-red rims decided us to place it with E. hæmastoma—a pardonable error, as it obviously strongly resembles that species.

Since then, however, I have obtained typical E. amygdalina, var. nitida, and I find that these specimens precisely match Gunn's No. 808, e.g., Currie's River, Tasmania. The pale-brown fruits with the dark red-brown rims arrest attention. The only point in which I can distinguish the Mt. Victoria specimens from those of Currie's River consists in the more obvious oil-glands of those from Mt. Victoria, but this may be in a measure owing to the age (over 60 years) of the Tasmanian specimens. The similarity of the specimens is remarkable when it is borne in mind that the Tasmanian specimens are mostly from the sea-coast, while Mt. Victoria is an inland mountain locality. In a papernote I have given very definite evidence of the absolute similarity of many Tasmanian and New South Wales forms, and this is an additional example.

E. hæmastoma, var. micrantha, differs in the erect, less falcate foliage of E. amygdalina, var. nitida. Both forms show oil-dots very abundantly. E. amygdalina, var. nitida, shows these dots far more abundantly than E. hæmastoma, var. micrantha, as a rule, whose leaves are generally thicker, but in mountain specimens it is sometimes not possible to separate them on these grounds.

The fruits are less brown, less sessile, and with a rather more marked rim than those of var. nitida.

As regards amygdalina generally, the rims of the fruit are thinner; amygdalina has fibrous, and hæmastoma a smooth bark; but in dwarf mountain forms it is sometimes difficult to speak about bark.