41. XL. Eucalyptus populifolia, Hooker.

Description  339 
Notes supplementary to the description  339 
Synonyms  340 
Range  341 
Affinities  342 

  ― 339 ―


XL. Eucalyptus populifolia, Hook.

THE species was describednote in Hooker's Icones Plantarum, t. 879 (1852), and the description was, of course, accompanied by a plate. Following is this description:—

Ramis gracilibus teretibus, foliis longe petiolatis subrhombeo-orbicularibus obtusissimis basi subcuneatis tenue penninerviis nervis obliquis approximatis margine paulum incrassatis, pedunculis axillaribus solitariis vel foliis delapsis subpaniculatis subquinquefloris, fructu (vix maturo) turbinato laevi, pedicellis teretibus. Hab., Wide Bay district, north-eastern Australia, Mr. Bidwill (n. 76).

The lid or operculum of the calyx I have not seen, but the leaves alone will readily distinguish this species from any with which we have hitherto been acquainted.

The type accordingly came from what we now know as Queensland. The species is, however, more widely diffused in New South Wales.

Mueller's description, in English, will be found in the “Eucalyptographia.”

Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 214) confused it with E. polyanthemos, Schauer.

Notes supplementary to the description

Mueller, in the “Eucalyptographia,” emphasises the following points:— Leaves orbicular-ovate or roundish, very shining (the leaves may, however, be narrow.—J.H.M.); umbels paniculate; anthers roundish-ovate, opening below the summit by pores; fruits very small.

There are many gradations of size and width of leaf. The species is usually very easily recognised, but the narrow lanceolate leaves may be a pitfall in some cases; they then sometimes show affinity to E. bicolor.

The type, as figured by Hooker, shows slightly urceolate fruits, but scarcely urceolate in “Eucalyptographia.”

For notes as to certain variations in the species, see the descriptions (at p 348) referring to Plate 48.

It is commonly known as “Bimbil” (aboriginal name) (“Bibble” is a corruption), or “Glossy- or Shiny-leaved Box.” Sometimes the leaves are strikingly Poplar-like (hence the specific name), while the resemblance to a Poplar is enhanced by the upright habit, for it is one of the most compact, straight-growing trees of the genus.

It has rough bark except to the very ultimate branchlets. Other notes on this tree will be given under the localities.

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  • 1. E. micrantha, A. Cunn., non DC.
  • 2. E. populnea, F.v.M.
  • 3. E. largiflorens, F.v.M., var. parviflora, Benth.
  • 4. E. bicolor, A. Cunn., var. parviflora, F.v.M.
  • 5. E. polyanthemos, Schauer, var. populifolia, F.v.M.

1. E. micrantha, A. Cunn, non DC.

I cannot trace that this species was ever described. A number of Cunningham's specimens have, however, been distributed in various herbaria under this name, amongst others those from the Peach Valley, Lachlan River, 199/1817 June. Sometimes called by Cunningham “Bastard Box,” but not to be confused with E. bicolor, A. Cunn.

2. E. populnea, F.v.M.

(E. populifolia, Hook.,note in Mitch. Trop. Austr., p. 204, non Desfont.)

Arborea, ramulis tenuibus teretiusculis laevibus, foliis alternis longe petiolatis ovato-vel rhombeo-orbicularibus apice obtusis vel emarginatis basi acutiusculis utrinque nitentibus concoloribus pellucide punctatis subtiliter venosis, umbellis 3–7 floris axillaribus vel lateralibus solitariis vel simpliciter paniculatis, pedunculis calycem vix excedentibus alabastris clavato-ovatis, calycis minuti tubo ecostato in pedicellum brevissimum attenuato operculi hemisphaerico mutici longitudinem duplo excedente, fructibus parvis turbinato-obconicis, valvis inclusis seminibus.

Hab. in tractu orientali Novæ-Hollandiæ subtropicæ passim sylvas constituens praesertim in collibus fertilioribus. Anth., Oct.-Dec.

Arbor mediocris; cortice sordide fusco-cinereo in trunco ramisque persistente rugoso et rimulosa. Petioli tenues teretiusculi saepe 1 inch longi. Folia 1½–3 uncias longa, 1–3 uncias lata, nonnunquam longitudine latiora. Pedunculi partiales 2–4 uncias longi. Calycis tubus circiter 1½ unciam metiens. Stamina albida 1 unciam vix longiora. Fructus maturus deest. (Journ. Linn. Soc., iii, 93 (1859).)

3. E. largiflorens, F.v.M., var. parviflora, Benth.

A specimen in the Melbourne Herbarium, labelled “Box-tree of Suttor River,” bears the further label “E. largiflorens, F.v.M., var. parviflora, Benth.,” which was afterwards properly cancelled by Mueller for E. populifolia. It is the form with the narrower, longer leaves common in the species. It is not the No. 2 “Gum-topped Box” from Suttor River, Bentham, in B.Fl. iii, 222, under E. crebra, which is E. acmenioides, Schauer.

The fruits are immature, but they and the flowers do not appear to be smaller than usual.

4. E. bicolor, A. Cunn., var. parviflora, F.v.M.

“Flowers much smaller. Stamens not 1 line long. Burdekin River, F. Mueller” (B.Fl. iii, 215).

Similar to the preceding, and the same remarks as to immaturity of fruit apply. Labelled E. populifolia by Mueller in Herb. Melb. I have received a duplicate specimen from Kew, and in this view I concur.

5. E. polyanthemos, Schauer, var. populifolia, F.v.M.

Mueller distributed a number of specimens under this name.

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IT seems to be confined to New South Wales and Queensland. It is a dry country or interior species. It does not appear to have been recorded from South Australia; but in view of the New South Wales localities I have indicated, which approach the South Australian border, I should not be surprised to hear of its occurrence in the latter State.


Wentworth (Mrs. Forde). This is the specimen in regard to which Dr. Woolls (“Plants of New South Wales,” p. 52) announced E. Behriana as occurring in New South Wales, and I believe his determination was based on the plate of E. Behriana as depicted in “Eucalyptographia,” which it matches very well. (It is, however, not a very good plate.) The plant is, however, E. populifolia.

“Hay district. ‘Glossy-leaved Box.’ Native name ‘Geral’ (Lower Lachlan). This is our second largest tree, attaining a height of 40 or 50 feet, with a diameter of 3 feet. It is peculiar to the back country, and is easily distinguished from the Box growing on the plains and along the banks of streams by its round and glossy leaves. As a rule, this tree grows near spots where water collects after rain and is almost invariably found bordering cane or Lignum (Muehlenbeckia Cunninghamii) swamps” (K. H. Bennett).

I have also received it from the same locality (Ivanhoe), from A. G. Little through H. Deane.

Mossgiel (John Bruckner). Labelled E. hemiphloia by Mueller.

Zara, viâ Hay (Miss Edith Officer). Lanceolate leaves, some of them narrow; reddish flowers, and with specially paniculate inflorescence. This remarkable specimen may show hybridisation with E. bicolor and I will deal with it on another occasion.

Narrandera, labelled “White Box” (F. R. Condell); Warrii (J. S. Taylor).

E. populifolia was not noticed south of the Wyalong district, but from this point northwards it is one of the commonest trees in the interior. Although usually known as “Bimble Box,” I was informed that away to the westward of Wyalong it bears the name of “Minty Box”; but as I did not visit the locality indicated, I cannot be certain of the species. (R. H. Cambage.)

Euabalong (J. L. Boorman), with both narrow and broad leaves; “Bimbil” or “White Box.” Egg-shaped leaves. Very hollow and gnarled (Forest Ranger Kidston and J.H.M., Condobolin); Bogan Gate (J. L. Boorman); Cobar (Andra); Mt. Boppy (J. L. Boorman); “Mallee Box,” Nymagee (J. Wharton Cox); “Bembil Box,” Nyngan (District Forester C. Marriott).

Coolabah (R. N. Peacock and J. L. Boorman); Marrar Creek viâ Girilambone (T. E. Grigg).

  ― 342 ―

Bourke (O. C. MacDougall and J.H.M.); plentiful along the Western Line from Mumbil to Bourke (J. L. Boorman); North Bourke (A. Murphy). Most of the specimens with narrow lanceolate leaves and the foliage more drooping than usual.

Tarcoon (J. L. Boorman); Brewarrina, “Bibble Box” with very paniculate inflorescence (C. J. McMaster).

“Bibble or Round-leaved Box.” Near Mitchell's Out-station, Dunlop, &c., Louth (R. Etheridge).

“Bastard Box,” W. Baüerlen, Tarella, Wilcannia, August, 1887, No. 62. Bark persistent; tree, 30–50 feet. Some of the leaves are large and coarse; similar leaves are found in the Bourke district. Others are lanceolate, and even narrow lanceolate; Wilcannia (H. V. Jackson); White Cliffs (E. P. O'Reilly); Cobham Lake (W. Baüerlen); Tinapagee, Wanaaring (R. J. Dalton).

Minore (J. L. Boorman); Narromine (R. Helms); Tomingley to Narromine (J.H.M.); Dubbo (C. J. McMaster).

“Poplar-leaved Box.” Small spreading tree on the Castlereagh (W. Woolls); on the plains near Baradine (W. Forsyth); “Box,” Wee Waa, Burren Junction (J. L. Boorman).

“Bibble Box,” “Broad-leaf Box,” or “Peppermint Box.” Useful for fencing purposes, &c. Strong and durable. Habitat, open forests and low flats. Plentiful in some localities. Flowering period varies. (Forest Ranger McGee, Narrabri); Narrabri, common (J.H.M.); Moree (J. L. Boorman); Gungal, Merriwa, apparently scarce in the district (J. L. Boorman).


Blackall, Barcoo (Bailey); Crocodile Creek (Bowman); Lake Elphinstone, Rockhampton (Amalia Dietrich); Rockhampton (R. Simmons); Chinchilla (Bailey); Dalby and other parts of South Queensland (Bailey); Darling Downs (Bailey); Gayndah (S. A. Lindeman).

“Scrub Box-tree” of Burdekin River (E. largiflorens, F.v.M., var. parviflora, Benth. (B.Fl. iii, 215).

“Box-tree” of Suttor River (E. largiflorens, F.v.M., var. parviflora, Benth. (B.Fl. iii, 215).


1. With E alba, Reinw.

The name E. populifolius was originally used (with Hooker as author) in Mitchell's “Tropical Australia,” p. 204, foot-note (1848). Mitchell's specimens were collected near Mt. Owen, adjacent to the River Maranoa, Queensland. I have seen Mitchell's specimens, and will give a figure (sufficient to bring out the characters) under E. alba, Reinw.

  ― 343 ―

Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 243) has a note on these specimens, which, he says, belong more probably to E. platyphylla than to E. polyanthemos. The fact is, that they are indubitable platyphylla, which is a synonym of E. alba.

I will discuss the matter when I figure E. alba, but it appears to me that E. populifolius, Hook. (1848), is a synonym of E. alba, and that E. populifolius, Hook. (1852), is the “Bimbil” or “Glossy-leaved Box,” and must fall, were it not that it has been in universal use for over half a century, and there seems to be a general consensus of opinion amongst botanists that names so used should stand, irrespective of the laws of strict priority. (Vienna Code.) The next oldest name is, of course, E. populnea, F.v.M.

E. alba has leaves of a Poplar shape, but usually much larger than those of E. populifolia, and less shiny. The fruits and buds are quite different and the trees differ in other obvious and important particulars—e.g., the smooth or flaky bark of E. alba as compared with the fibrous bark of E. populifolia.

2. With E. bicolor, A. Cunn.

A “Drooping Box” of the river-flats of the interior. Its drooping habit would at once distinguish it from normal E. populifolia; so would its lanceolar, dull (often pale) leaves, and its red timber. The barks of both trees are Box-like; the fruits of E. bicolor are larger and more sub-cylindrical than those of E. populifolia.

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

E. populifolia is a larger tree; its habit is erect and Poplar-like; it has a rough (Box-like) bark. In all these particulars it differs from E. Behriana. The leaves of E. populifolia sometimes resemble those of E. Behriana in shape and lustre (see p. 341); the inflorescences are sufficiently similar (the filaments of both are short) to put one on one's guard, though the fruits are dissimilar. Usually the inflorescence of E. Behriana is more paniculate, and the fruits more cylindrical and darker in colour.