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02. Part II

3. II. Eucalyptus obliqua, L'Héritier.

             
1.  Description  51 
Notes supplementary to the description. 
2.  Synonyms (with descriptions)  57 
Notes on the Synonyms  57 
3.  Range  63 
4.  Affinities  67 
5.  Explanation of plates  73 




  ― 51 ―

Description.

THIS is the first species of Eucalyptus known to science, it having been originally collected by David Nelson, assistant botanist on Cook's Third Voyage (1776–9), and described by L'Héritier in 1788. At the time of its collection, and for long afterwards, Tasmania was looked upon as part of Australia; moreover, like other early species, it was badly described, and the specimens themselves were imperfect and not easily accessible. The result was that it was not recognised, until the sixties, that E. obliqua is the common Tasmanian stringybark. Hooker, in his Flora of Tasmania, was not aware of its identity, and consequently in that classical work it is not mentioned, but a new species, E. gigantea, takes its place.

Following is the original description by L'Héritier:—

Eucalyptus.—Perianthium: Operculum superum, integerrimum, truncatum. Petalum: Calyptra obverse hemisphærica, margini calcycis imposita, ante anthesin discedens.

Filamenta numerosissima, calyci inserta. Germen inferum, turbinatum. Stylus unicus. Capsula subquadrilocularis, apice duntaxat dehiscens. Semina plurima angulata.

Eucalyptus obliqua, Tab. 20. Habitat in Nova Cambriâ. Nelson. Guil. Anderson (L'Hérit. Sert. Angl., p. 18).

A reproduction of the figures accompanying the description will be found at Plate 5.

I have seen a specimen labelled “E. obliqua, V. D. Land., D. Nelson, ex. herb. Lambert” in Herb. Cant. It is in leaf only.

The following description of E. obliqua from Sir J. E. Smith's “Specimen of the Botany of New Holland,” p. 43 (London, 1793) is interesting as an example of the brief descriptions formerly deemed to be adequate, and may be convenient for reference:—

Eucalyptus obliqua, operculo hemisphærico mucronulato, umbellis lateralibus solitariis; pedunculis ramulisque teretibus. Lid hemispherical, with a little point. Umbels lateral, solitary; flower-stalks and young branches round.

Syn. E. obliqua, Ait. Hort. Kew. v. 2, 157, L'Hérit. Sert. Angl. t. 20.

From the only specimen we have seen of this, which is in Sir Joseph Banks' herbarium, it appears the branches are all round to the very top. General flowering stalks round, the partial ones only slightly angular, not compressed. Bark rough from the scaling off of the cuticle, but this may be an unnatural appearance. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, aromatic, but without the flavour of peppermint.




  ― 52 ―

Following is Cavanilles' description:—

Eucalyptus obliquus, 375. Eucalyptus foliis ovato-lanceolatis, nervo unico ramoso, nervulis ad ipsum raris: umbellis axillaribus. In hac specie folia non videntur coriacea; nervuli adsurgunt formantque angulum acutum cum nervo principali: umbellae quinqueflorae: et calyptra hemisphaerica. Videtur eadem species quam D. de Lamarck figuravit tab. 422, ill. gen. cujus descriptionem nondum evulgavit. (Cav. Ic., Vol. IV, p. 25, 1797).

Lamarck's figure is practically a copy of L”Héritier's, with the details arranged differently on the smaller-sized plate of Lamarck's work.

Link, in the following brief description, attributed the species to Smith, and quotes Willdenow's Enumeratio:

218. E. obliqua, Smith, W. E., 515. Fol. ut in pr. parum breviora, ultra 2' lata. Pedunculi breves 4'' longi axillares 6 flori; pedicelli brevissimi. (Link. Enum. Berol. ii, 30.)

The species is likewise attributed to Smith in the following label in Herb. Calcutta:—“Eucalyptus obliqua, Smith, Serres de M. Noisette, 6 Août, 1816.” This specimen is E. obliqua, L”Hérit.

Following is Hoffmansegg's brief reference to the species, which is given here to save botanists searching after this rare work:—

(430.) Eucalyptus obliqua. Male in Willd. foliorum nulla mentio, id quod in Link Enum. probe emendatum. (Hoffmg. Verz. Pfl. Nachtr. 2, p. 114.)

It will be found to be fully defined in Bentham's “Flora Australiensis” (iii. 204), and in Mueller's “Eucalyptographia.”

Vernacular names.—It is usually known as “Stringybark” in Tasmania and South Australia, and to a less extent in Victoria; in the last State, however, it is usually known as “Messmate,” because it is associated or mess-mates with other stringybarks and fibrous-barked eucalypts. The same name is in use in southern New South Wales, as for instance at Sugar Loaf Mountain, Braidwood, and at Tantawanglo Mountain, near Cathcart. Apparently this is the most widely used name for it in New South Wales, and the term “Stringybark” does not seem to be usually applied to it in this State.

Because it is usually rough-barked to the ends of the branches, it sometimes goes by the name of “Woolly-topped Messmate” in the Braidwood district (Monga, &c.). Other names are “Bastard Stringybark,” “Woolly Butt,” “Woolly Bark,” and “White Stringybark,” all in use in New England, New South Wales. For a note on the use of the terms Brown and White Stringybark in Tasmania, see p. 54.

Cotyledon leaves.—Small, reniform to obtusely quadrangular, glabrous, triplinerved, thin, more or less suffused with purple.




  ― 53 ―

Sucker leaves.—Broadly ovate, somewhat cordate, tending to become unequal, but not always so, and apparently always attenuate, as pointed out by Howitt. Venation well marked and more transverse than in the foliage of the mature tree.

Mature leaves.—It is a coarse-foliaged tree, by which characteristic alone it can usually be distinguished from those species with which it is usually associated, or with which it is likely to be confused. Its strikingly oblique, unsymmetrical leaves have, no doubt, given origin to its name. Obliquity is a character of nearly all Eucalyptus leaves, but in the species under consideration, and in E. capitellata, it is particularly observable.

Fruit.—Fruit ovoid, more or less pear-shaped, and slightly contracted at the orifice. They vary in shape, however, from subcylindrical to nearly hemispherical. They are three to five lines in diameter. The drawings will make the shape of the fruit quite clear. The fruits depicted at Plate 7, fig. 4 have unusually thick rims, and show transit to E. coriacea. Perhaps they are E. coriacea.

Bark.—Rough-barked to the ends of the branches; the bark of the trunk and branches is decidedly fibrous, but the fibres are not so clean and tenacious as those of the true Stringybarks, and the bark is not so suitable for roofing. In some districts, particularly in Tasmania, it tends to become less fibrous, forming one of the “Gum-topped Stringybarks.” See p. 69.

A figure of a basket (Bee-lang), showing good workmanship, and made by Yarra natives out of this fibre, is in Brough Smith's “Aboriginals of Victoria,” i, 344.

Timber.—That from New South Wales localities is a rather inferior, coarse, open-grained, porous wood, liable to shrink and warp. It is not esteemed for public works in New South Wales. Its open nature may be, at least in part, a consequence of rapid growth, for which, according to several authorities, E. obliqua has the reputation.

It has been used in the Braidwood and Cooma districts for many years for building purposes. In Victoria and Tasmania it is largely used, and a recent official publication of the latter State says “It is our most valuable wood.” In considering the value of this observation, it should, of course, be borne in mind that neither of these States possesses a series of excellent timbers such as New South Wales can boast of. At the same time it is quite possible that Tasmanian and Victorian grown timbers of this species are superior to that grown in New South Wales. Howitt, a leading Victorian authority, groups it as a “second-class timber,” adding that “although a fairly durable and useful timber, it has generally the fault of being more or less full of gum-veins, and is thus unsuitable for many purposes.”




  ― 54 ―

Another authority states:—

Although of an inferior class, it is used for a great variety of building purposes, notwithstanding some liability to warp or twist. …… Supplies a good deal of second-class sawn timber in the market. (Mueller, in Cat. Tech. Mus., Melbourne.)

As this work seeks to impartially report on the qualities of the products of the various species, in whatever State they are produced, some lengthy statements in regard to Tasmanian-grown timber are given at this place.

Following is a report by Mr. Allan Ransome, of London, on a Tasmanian sample—(See Kew Bulletin, May, 1889):—

A very strong tough wood, with a straight grain, in appearance somewhat resembling American ash. From its great strength and toughness it is well adapted for carriage, cart, and waggon building, wheel-work, and agricultural machinery, as well as for the framing of railway carriages and trucks. It is also a valuable wood for the stronger description of building constructions, and would make excellent railway sleepers. From the peculiar strength of the fibre of the grain, it will not maintain a good surface, as, even when perfectly dry, the grain rises, so as to render it impossible to polish it successfully.

An official report says:—

Stringybark can be obtained in patches all over Tasmania, but is most abundant in the south; like the blue gum it can be got of any reasonable length or size. It is of quicker growth than the gum, and is of a lighter and milder nature generally. The timber is much used in Tasmania and in the adjacent colonies for house-building, &c. To ensure durability the wood requires fair seasoning. The different varieties are—Gum-top Stringybark, Brown and White Stringybark (the brown being the older growth). The White Stringybark makes good palings and shingles.

Another official report says:—

Eucalyptus obliqua (Stringybark) is our most valuable wood. It differs from and is better than the Stringybark of Australia. The timber is light-coloured, and varies considerably, from a brown wood resembling oak to a much lighter-coloured wood resembling ash; and because of the great variety of its uses and its abundance is more valuable economically than blue gum. The bark might be made a source of income, as it is suitable for the manufacture of paper.

The timber, as I have already hinted, appears to be more valued in Tasmania than on the mainland; its utilisation, as a paper-making material, is not likely to have any commercial importance.

The following account of E. obliqua timber is taken from Mr. A. O. Green's pamphlet on “Tasmanian Timbers” (1902). It and the Blue Gum (E. globulus) are the two most valuable timbers of Tasmania, hence the comparison by Mr. Green and by the author already quoted:—

Stringybark trees are very much more widely distributed through the Island than the Blue Gum (E. globulus), growing over large tracts of poor, hilly country. They attain to an immense size—up to 300 feet in height, and from 2 to 10 feet in diameter. The wood is, on the whole, of a lighter colour than Blue Gum, and varies from a pale straw to a reddish brown. In appearance Brown Stringybark is somewhat like oak, and it would be a difficult matter for most people to distinguish a picture-frame made of Stringybark from one made of oak. The timber varies considerably, according to the situation and soil in which the tree grows. In appearance it is freer than blue gum, but lacks the purplish tint, and is more subject to gum-veins. It is the most general timber for all sorts of constructive work in Tasmania. It makes excellent piles, especially for fresh water, but is not considered quite so good as blue gum for salt water, being more subject to the attacks of the teredo.




  ― 55 ―

It is also used for shipbuilding, the construction of wharves and bridges, and for railway sleepers, for the dado, flooring, and fitting of houses, and for furniture; it is also an excellent wheelwrights' wood. When polished it very much resembles oak, but has a more sparkling grain; it has a very pretty effect when used for a ballroom floor, or for wainscotting.

Besides being sawn for almost every purpose, Stringybark is split into fence-rails, palings, and shingles. It is certain that if this wood and the blue gum, properly prepared, were exported to London, a ready sale would be found for it for the construction of carts and vans. It would very well take the place of English oak and ash used for this purpose, which are every year becoming scarcer. In the Tasmanian International Exhibition before mentioned, a Stringybark sleeper was shown by the Government that had been twenty-five years under traffic. The usual life of this timber in bridges is from twenty to twenty-five years; sleepers average about fourteen years; and none of the Government railway buildings, some of which were built twenty-seven years ago, chiefly of this timber, have yet been renewed.

Specimens of this timber from Bullarook Forest, Victoria, were examined by Mr. F. A. Campbell (Proc. R. S. Vict., 1879). IIis values of the tensile strength in pounds per square inch are 8,500, 8,500, and 8,200. They broke with a short fracture. The wood was well seasoned, clean, but not quite free from shakes. Mr. Campbell, however, remarked that this should not affect its tensile strength to any extent. It was known locally as messmate. Rankin gives the following particulars in regard to the timber of E. gigantea (obliqua): Modulus of elasticity in pounds on square inch, 1,709,000; modulus of rupture, 13,000; weight, 54 lb. per cubic foot.

EXPERIMENTS on the transverse strength of the wood of E. obliqua by Baron Mueller and J. G. Luehmann. The specimens were 2 feet long and 2 inches square.

         
Deflection.  Specific Gravity. 
With the apparatus weighing 780 lb.  At the crisis of breaking.  Total weight required to break each piece.  Value of strength S=LW/4BD2   Air-dried.  Absolutely dried. 
inches.  inches.  pounds. 
·12  ·50  2,053  1,540  1·045  ·867 
·14  ·48  1,776  1,332  ·935  ·783 

Some experiments by Mr. James Mitchell on Tasmanian stringybark will be found in Proc. Roy. Soc. V. D. Land, II, part i, p. 124 (1852).

It has also been tested by Mr. James Mann (“Australian Timber,” 1900), and by Mr. A. O. Green (“Tasmanian Timbers,” 1902).

Essential Oil.—The leaves yield 0·5 per cent. of a reddish-yellow oil of mild odour and bitter taste; specific gravity, 0·899. It boils from 171–195° (Wittstein and Mueller). An oil obtained in Portugal had the specific gravity 0·914 and the rotatory power ad=-7° 28'. It was soluble in an equal part of 80 per cent. alcohol and contained cineol (iodol reaction) and phellandrene (nitrite). (Gildemeister and Hoffmann, “The Volatile Oils.”)




  ― 56 ―

Messrs. Baker and Smith (“Research on the Eucalypts”) give the specific gravity of this oil as 0·8902, its specific rotation [a]- D 29·5, its saponification number as 8·03; it is soluble in one volume of 80 per cent. alcohol. It contains phellandrene, eucalyptol, and aromadendral. E. obliqua is, however, not a species whose oil will render it of commercial importance.

This tree has been introduced extensively in India on the Nilgiris, and, on a smaller scale by way of experiment, in the Punjab, and in several places in the north-west Himalayas (Brandis). It has also been tried at Changa Manga, but has failed at Lucknow (Gamble).

In the second edition of his “Manual of Indian Timbers,” Gamble says it is “cultivated in the Nilgiris, especially in Aramby, Rallia, and Coonoor Peak plantations.”




  ― 57 ―

Synonyms.

  • 1. E. pallens, DC. (probably).
  • 2. E. procera, Dehnh.
  • 3. E. gigantea, Hook. f.
  • 4. E. elatus, Hook. f.
  • 5. E. fabrorum, Schlecht.
  • 6. E. fissilis, F. v. M.
  • 7. E. falcifolia, Miq.
  • 8. E. nervosa, F. v. M.
  • 9. E. heterophylla, Miq.

Notes on the Synonyms.

1. E. pallens, DC. non F. v. M.

E. pallens, operculo hemisphaerico submutico cupulâ breviore, pedunculis axillaribus compressis petioli longitudine, umbellis 5–7 floris, ramulis angulatis, foliis lanceolatis acuminatis subcoriaceis penniveniis, venis ante margines confluentibus. In Novâ Hollandia, Sieb. plant. exs. n. 606. Petioli 5 lin. longi. Folia 5 poll. longa, basi vix obliqua, fere sesquipoll. lata, utrinque albida (De Candolle, Prodromus, vol. III, p. 219).

The specimens of Sieber's No. 606 are in early bud only. They very strongly resemble specimens of E. obliqua from the Goulburn (N.S.W.) district.

Superficially they perhaps as strongly resemble specimens in a similar stage from E. dives, but I have no hesitation in saying that the determination of E. dives is much less likely as the leaves possess very little aroma when crushed. Sieber was known to have collected in the Goulburn district.

The specimen, figured in Plate 7, fig. 1, shows transit to E. virgata, and affords a very good instance of the difficulties surrounding many plants that depart from types in the Renanthereæ.

The drying pale (referred to in the specific name) of the leaves is not unusual in many species of the Renanthereæ.




  ― 58 ―

“Sieber's No. 606. Short diagnosis, might perhaps do for either albens or dealbata. I have not seen it.” (Bentham in B. Fl. III, 200.)

Specimens labelled “E. pallens, DC., Broken River,” in Mueller's handwriting, in Herb., Kew, are E. hemiphoia, var. albens.

2. E. procera, Dehnh.

Eucalyptus procera, Dehnh., E. foliis late-ovatis longissimis obliquis coriaceis parallele venosis marginatisve subcrenulatis utrinque glanduliferis apice uncinatis, petiolis muricatis coloratis, ramulis teretibus glanduliferis rubicundis.

Cortice laevi aestivo tempore in squamas secedente Nov. Holl.

(Dehnhardt, Catalogus plantarum horti Camaldulensis. Ed. II, 1832, p. 20.)note

Bentham (B. Fl., iii, 200), who had not seen any specimens, speaks of the description as “far too imperfect to render identification possible.”

I have seen some excellent specimens, in bud, flower, and ripe fruit, communicated by Dehnhardt himself to the Vienna herbarium (Herb. Mus. Cæs. Palat. Vindob.), which show that the species is E. obliqua, L'Hérit. The label states that the tree (Hort. Camaldul.) was raised from “unknown seed,” and that the tree (? that from which the original seed was taken) was 70 feet high. The seed probably came from Tasmania.

Following is Walpers' description:—

Eucalyptus procera, Dehnhardt, l.c., p. 174.—Operculo hemisphærico mucronulato, calyce breviore; pedunculis subancipitib., umbellis lateralib., 5–9—floris parvis; foll. alternis ovato-lanceolatis longissimis obliquis falcatis coriaceis parallele venosis, apice uncinatis, margine subcrenulatis integerrimisve, juniorib., utrinq., glanduliferis; ramis teretib. rubicundis. Crescit in Novâ Hollandiâ. (Walpers' Repertorium Botanices Systematicœ, ii, p. 164.)

Mueller (in “Eucalyptographia,” under E. pauciflora) quoting Walpers' wording of the description of the species, refers it to pauciflora (coriacea), but the specimens set the matter at rest.

3. E. gigantea, Hook. f.note

N. sp.; ramis ramulisque lævibus elongatis gracilibus, foliis alternis sublonge petiolatis amplis oblique curvatis ovato-lanceolatis longe acuminatis basi valde inæqualibus costa distincta, nervis lateralibus divergentibus, pedicellis elongatis multifloris, alabastris lineari-clavatis obtusis, cupellis (florentibus) obconicis pedicellatis, operculo breviter hemisphærico obtuso v. subacuto maturo cupula æquilata breviore, capsula majuscula pedicellata obconico-hemisphærico v. turbinata ore paulo contracto v. subglobosa ore valde contracto,—“stringybark” colonorum.

The hills of the Vomer (Ploughshare), and of the district of Camalduli, beneath which lies the city (Naples), are foremost amongst the most picturesque parts of Campania. The climate is especially mild. On those hills the Count of Camalduli has an immense farm, and excellently laid out gardens. The variety and plenteousness of the trees and vegetation—products both of practical utility and of pure delight—draw crowds of inhabitants and strangers; the immense size and joyous shapes of the truly exotic plants only to be found elsewhere in hot-houses, and which here are planted in the open air as though native of the soil, must cause the greatest delight and wonder in the spectator.

The following particulars about the Count are given in his preface to Ed. I (1829), and from the last sentence it would appear that Dehnhardt was superintendent or head gardener of this garden:—“After the Count of Camalduli, Franciscus Riccardi, had obtained permission to retire from the splendid position whose duties he had most diligently performed, he withdrew to the beautiful hills of the Ploughshare and of Camalduli. The garden attached to the country house (described in poetry by those most noble knights Angelo M. Riccio, in the vernacular, and Jacobo Farina, President of the Supreme Court, in Latin), were given me to lay out and beautify.”




  ― 59 ―

Hab.—Throughout Tasmania, very abundant, v.v.n.

Arbor excelsa, 150–250 pedalis; trunco basi num, 20–26 ped. diameter. Rami ramulique graciles, elongati. Folia 4–6 unc. longa, 1–2½ unc. lata. Alabastra angusta, elongata cupula bis-terve longiora. (Hooker, f. in Lond. Journ. Bot., vi, 479, 1847.)

This was amplified by Hook. f., in the following words:—

12. Eucalyptus gigantea; arbor gigantea, ramulis gracilibus pendulis, foliis amplis gracile petiolatis e basi ovata lanceolatis sensim acuminatis opacis basi valde inæquilateris costa distincta nervis divergentibus, pedicellis elongatis multiflorus, calycibus subclavatis pedicellatis, operculo breviter hemisphærico obtuso v. subacuto, capsula majuscula pedicellata turbinata obconica hemisphærica v. subglobosa lignosa ore subcontracto intus plano v. abrupte depresso, valvis inclusis. (Gunn., 1,095, 1,104, 1,106, 1,965, 1,966.) (Tab. XXVIII.)

Hab.—Abundant in most parts of the Island, forming a great proportion of the hill forests, ascending to 4,000 feet. (Fl. Oct., Dec.), (v.v.), “Stringy-bark Gum.”

Distrib.—South-eastern Australia.

This forms a gigantic tree; specimens have been felled in the valleys at the base of Mt. Wellington 300 feet high and 100 feet in girth, of which a full account is given in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania.” It is also a most abundant species, and forms the bulk of the forests of the elevated table-land of the interior and flanks of the southern mountains. It is difficult so to define its characters that it shall be recognised by them; but it is a well-known and readily distinguished species in the forest. At all periods of growth it has a tall, straight trunk, and few terminal branches, never very leafy or umbrageous. In some varieties the young branches have a fine glaucous-purple bloom on them, especially in alpine localities; such is the case with Mr. Gunn's No. 1,095, from the banks of Lake St. Clair, where it forms a forest on one side of the lake only, to the exclusion of all other timber.

Barkflaking off in stringy masses, used formerly by the natives for huts, canoes, &c.

Branchlets slender, pendulous.

Leaves broader than in most other species of this section, 4–7 inches long, ovate at the broad oblique base, then lanceolate, and tapering to an acuminate point, surface not polished, nerves diverging.

Peduncles, flower, and fruit so variable that it is difficult to characterise them; usually the peduncles are stout, woody, as long as the petioles; the flowers very numerous, and forming a capitate head; the pedicels stout; calyx turbinate; operculum hemispherical. Capsule woody, gradually or suddenly contracted at the pedicel, spherical or oblong obconic, with a contracted, not thickened, mouth, and sunk valves. As in other species, I have found very great differences in the flowers and fruits from upper and lower, older and younger, slender and stout branches. (The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror, 1839–43. Flora Tasmaniœ. J. D. Hooker, I, 136). 1860.

As already pointed out, E. obliqua, L'Hérit., was not known to Hooker at the time he wrote Fl. Tas., nor clearly to Mueller in Fragm. ii, 44, 45, where the supposed differences between E. obliqua, L'Hérit., and E. gigantea, Hook. f., are discussed. See also Fragm. ii, 171, 172. I am not quite clear as to the precise date when the identity of L'Héritier's species was placed beyond doubt. Mueller (“Eucalyptographia”) says, “As surmised by me (in the Fragmenta, ii, 45), it is this very species which was collected during Furneaux's voyage at Adventure Bay, and this was proved subsequently by Mr. Rich. Kippist, who, at my request, compared the original specimen in the Banksian collection.”




  ― 60 ―

4. Eucalyptus elatus, Hook. f. — Gunn's specimen in Herb., Kew, bears the name in Hooker's handwriting.

Eucalyptus elatus, H. f.—Trunk erect, branching at top, only 140 feet high, 3,000 ft. alt. Dee tier very large tree, many dead.

The fruits are not ripe, but the plant is E. obliqua, L'Hérit., as so noted in Herb. Kew.

Another of Gunn's specimens (“Kangaroo Bottom,” 9/25, 1840), also bears the name “Eucalyptus elatus, J.D.H.,” in Hook. f.'s. handwriting.

5. E. fabrorum, Schlecht.

177. Eucalyptus fabrorum, Schldl.—Rami rigidi, ut reliquae partes glabri, ultimi angulati, aetate provectiores teretes cortice fusco. Umbellae brevissime pedunculatae in axillis foliorum inferiorum annotinorum, nec non in apicibus ramulorum hornotinorum paniculam brevem, ex umbellulis paucis, una scilicet terminali, reliquis oppositis brevissime pedunculatis aphyllis (foliis cito deciduis) compositam, formant. [Pedunculus communis 1–2 lin. longus crassus, 3–7 flores brevissime crasseque pedicellatos, pedicellis ½ lin. longis, ferens. Folia oblonga (c. petiolo 3–6 lin. longo, 4–6 poll. longa, 6–10 lin. inferne lata), ex inferiore paullo latiore in ipsa basi acuta parte sensim angustata, atque in acumen attenuatum acutum producta, inaequilatera, leviter falcatim curvata, crasse coriacea, obscure pellucide punctata vel impunctata, nervo medio utrinque et margine crassiusculo prominente et simul pallidius, vel ex rubro tincto; venas emittit nervus laterales levissime prominulas in nervum marginalem, qui cum margine venulis transversis conjungitur. Pagina superior folii viridior, infera magis glaucescens. Alabastrum obovatum, basi leviter attenuatum, 3½–4 lin. altum, tubo cupuliformi obconico, majore; operculo obtuse et depresse conico. Stamina tubo calycino longiora, 2 lin. paullo longiora. Stylus brevior, linea paululum longior.]note

E. scabra similis, sed omnino glaber, viridior, floribus paullo minoribus, brevius pedicellatis, alabastris laete viridibus laevibus nec canescentibus rugulosis, calyptra obtusiore.

Hoher Baum, Wälder bildend, an felsigen Stellen in den höheren Berggegenden. März. Das Holz est nutzbar.—(Stringer Bark der Kolonisten.) (Linnœa xx, 656.)

The description in Walpers' Annales Botanices Systematicœ, i, 309, has the above portion [ ] (my brackets) omitted.

E. fabrorum, Schlecht. is referred by F. Mueller to E. obliqua, owing to the author's stating it to be the “Stringybark of the Colonists, and very possibly some of Behr's specimens many be of that species; but the only authentic one I have seen in a perfect state is evidently E. viminalis.—(B. Fl. iii, 205.)

The following specimens, however, show that Mueller's view is correct:—

  • 1. “Eucalyptus fabrorum, Schlecht. Lofty Ranges (S. A.) Ferd. Müller Pharm. Cand.” (1847 or 1848.)
  • 2. “Plantæ Müllerianæ, Eucalyptus fabrorum, Schlecht. Nov. Holland Méridional.”
  • 3. “Eucalyptus fabrorum, Schlecht. Adelaide, Dr. F. Mueller, Herbar. W. Sonder.”

I have seen all these specimens, which are identical, and all are E. obliqua. No. 2 was the specimen examined by Miquel for his paper in Ned. Kruidk. Arch., iv.




  ― 61 ―

I have seen specimens in European herbaria, “Eucalyptus fabrorum, Schldt., Port Lincoln scrub, legit Carl Wilhelmi, exam. Dr. Ferd. Mueller,” which are E. santalifolia, F. v. M.

In the Reports of the Victorian Exhibitions of 1861 and 1866, the following specific gravities of timbers are given:—

Eucalyptus fabrorum, Stringybark, ·990, ·941, ·809 (steam-dried) respectively.

6. E. fissilis, F. v. M.

“Messmate (Eucalyptus fissilis) has many of the characteristics of the white gum, is hard and straight-grained, and splits readily into posts, rails, palings, and shingles for fencing and building purposes. Wheelwrights use it for shafts and framing of drays, for plough-beams, and many similar applications.” (Inter-colonial Exhibition of Australasia, Melbourne, 1866–7, Official Record, 1867, p. 216.)

The oil from the leaves of Eucalyptus fissilis has the specific gravity, 0·928, and is optically inactive. (W. P. Wilkinson in Proc. Roy. Soc. Vict., 1893, p. 198, where there are other data given in regard to this oil.)

In quoting this, Gildemeister and Hoffman have the note:—

According to Maiden, Eucalyptus fissilis, F. v. M., is synonymous with E. amygdalina, Labill., the oil of which is strongly lævogyrate. Its specific gravity also does not agree with that obtained by Wilkinson from E. fissilis.

I understood for some years that E. fissilis was a form of amygdalina, but Mr. J. G. Luehmann has informed me that it is referable to E. obliqua. Mueller frequently used the name fissilis in his earlier reports (chiefly those referring to economic plants), but I cannot trace where he described the supposed species.

7. E. falcifolia, Miq.

Following is the original description:—

28. Eucalyptus falcifolia, Miq.—(Euc. fabrorum, Müll. Herb. et mss. non Schldt.): Ramulis tenuibus, supremis angulatis viridulis, ramis fuscescentibus, foliis longuiscule petiolatis e basi ut plurimum inaequali et inaequilonga ovato-lanceolatis vel lanceolatis inaequilateris vulgo falcatis attenuato-acuminatis pergamaceis, costâ subtus prominulâ, venis patule adscendentibus ante marginem unitis utrinque praesertim subtus distinctis tenere reticulatis, umbellis 4–10 floris haud raro paniculato-confertis, pedunculis leviter compressis, floribus pedicellatis, calycis tubo turbinato operculum semiglobosum acutiusculum superante.

In montibus sterilissimis memora aperta extensa constituens, arbor excelsa, rarius humilis, fl. aestate (idem).—Lofty Range trans. Fl. Murray (Müll. Herb.).

Cortex rimosus nigricanti-cinereus. Rami mox nigrescentes. Umbellarum pedunculus passim 4 lineas longus, foliorum paginae concolores nitentes. Alabastra decolora. Fructus hemisphaerico-turbinatus.—(F. Müll.).

Species E. acmenoide, Schauer, affinis, notis certis ab E. fabrorum tuto discernenda. Petioli vulgo ½–¾ poll. longi; folia 4–6 poll. longa, ½–1¾ lata. Pedunculi circiter 4, pedicelli 2 lin. longi.

Hujus speciei formae videntur n. 13, 22, et 23, e New South Wales.—(Miquel, Ned. Kruidk. Arch. iv).




  ― 62 ―

The description of the bark “rimosus nigricanti-cinereus” would apply to E. Gunnii or E. viminalis, and not to E. obliqua, and there is evidently some confusion of notes here. The drawing (Plate 8, fig. 4) shows that the specimen in Herb. Kew is but a small one, and it is obliqua, although perhaps superficial examination of the specimen might lead some to look upon it as a form of E. Gunnii, Hook. f., var. acervula, Deane and Maiden, not uncommon in South Australia.

The specimen in Herb., Kew, is labelled “Eucalyptus falcifolia, Miq., in Ned. Kruidk., Arch., iv. 136 = obliqua, L'Hér.; fabrorum, F. Müller, near Adelaide, S. Australia,” and is in bud and with fully-developed flowers. It has kidney-shaped anthers, and it is E. obliqua, L'Hér., as stated.

8. E. nervosa, F. v. M.

Following is the description:—

38. Eucalyptus nervosa, Ferd. Müll,, ramulis teretibus, foliis ovatis, oblongo-ovatis, ellipticis vel oblongo-lanceolatis, vulgo obliquis, costâ venisque adscendentibus prominulis, pendunculis 2–5 floris, foliis deciduis in paniculam etiam confertis, floribus pedicellatis, fructu ovato-truncato. Lofty Range, m. Nov. (F. Müller). Proxima E. Behrianae, a quâ teste F. Müller differt foliis fructibusque majoribus. Folia majora, 4½–5 poll. longa, 1½–2½ lata. Fructus 2 lin. longi. (Miquel in Ned. Kruidk. Arch., iv, 138, (1856.)

This is E. obliqua (B. Fl. iii, 204).

9. E. heterophylla, Miq.

This is described in Ned. Kruidk. Arch., iv (1856), 141, briefly as follows:—

45. Eucalyptus heterophylla, Miq., n. sp. foliis suboppositis et oppositis, alternisve, longiuscule petiolatis, elliptico vel ovato-oblongis, sursum attenuatis, basi aequale vel inaequale acutis vel obtusis, coriaceis, 4–9½ poll. longis, 1½–3 latis, floribus. … Van Diemen's Land (Stuart, n. 2).

Bentham, while pointing out that it was described from barren leafy branches, states that it “appears to be one of the forms assumed by the saplings or by the adventitious shoots of E. obliqua (B. Fl. iii, 205).”

Mueller, however, (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. globulus), thinks that it may be E. globulus.

Stuart's No. 2 is not at Kew. The matter is not of the first importance, but I am making an endeavour to trace every described species of Eucalyptus, and would like to see the specimen.

The plant labelled “Eucalyptus marginata, Smith (?) Hab. near Sydney, New South Wales—imperfect specimens,” in Wilkes' U. S. Exped., 1838–42—Botany, Asa Gray, i, 553), is probably E. obliqua. The original specimen in the United States National Museum has sucker leaves, mature leaves; also a few flowers; no opercula. E. marginata is a Western Australian species.




  ― 63 ―

Range.

ALTHOUGH usually regarded as chiefly a Tasmanian and Victorian tree, it has during the last few years been found to extend over very large areas in New South Wales, though its curving boundary is a matter for further investigation. It is abundant in many places along the top of the eastern slope of the coast range from Mittagong south. Thence there is a gap in our localities until the Upper Williams River and Eastern and Northern New England are reached. We do not know the connecting links between the southern and northern localities; it doubtless will be found in various spurs of the Great Dividing Range. It extends to South Australia.

At the time of the writing of the “Eucalyptographia,” Mueller gave the range, “St. Vincent's Gulf to Gippsland, scarcely passing into the territory of New South Wales.”

TASMANIA.

As has been already stated, E. obliqua is common in hilly country all over the island, but chiefly in the south.

Following are localities of some of R. Gunn's specimens:—

No. 1,095: Lake St. Clair.

No. 1,104: Black River, Circular Head.

No. 1,106: Locality (?).

Lhotsky collected it in Van Diemen's Land (Herb. Cant. ex herb. Lemann), and labelled it E. acervula (?), Sieb.

The following specimens of this timber, exhibited by the Tasmanian Government Railway, give some localities for merchantable timber:—

No. 18: Deck plank from Bridgewater Bridge, fifty years old.

No. 20: Sleeper, twenty-five years under traffic, cut in 1868, on the Western Tiers, for the Western Line.

No. 21: Six split sleepers, from Fingal.

No. 22: Two split sleepers, from Rhyndaston.

No. 25: Twelve sleepers, from Mersey Line; barren land.

No. 26: Sleeper, from Mersey Line; good land.

No. 30: Two planks of red stringybark, 6 feet by 8½ inches by 5 inches, from Scottsdale Line.

Further particulars in regard to Tasmanian localities have been already given. Ante p. 54.




  ― 64 ―

SOUTH AUSTRALIA.

Mount Lofty Ranges, near Adelaide; in places upon the southern slopes of the main range running through Kangaroo Island; along the coast from the Glenelg River to Lake Bonney in places around and near Mount Gambier; Mounts Burr and McIntyre Forest Reserves; Cave Range Forest Reserve; in places near Narracoorte, on the Kingston and Narracoorte railway line; and several other districts of less importance in the south-east. (“The Forest Flora of South Australia,” by J. Ednie Brown.)

The late Professor Ralph Tate gave the range in South Australia as “Adelaide district, Kangaroo Island, and the volcanic area of the south-east corner of the State, or the Mount Gambier district.”

Eucalyptus fabrorum, Schlecht., Lofty Ranges, Ferd. Müller, Pharm. Cand.” This is a specimen collected by Mueller, in 1847 or 1848, named as above by Schlechtendal, and referred to by Miquel in Ned. Kruidk. Arch. IV.

VICTORIA.

“In vast masses, constituting on the more barren ranges in nearly all parts of our territory the prevalent timber.”—(Mueller, in Cat. Tech. Mus., Melbourne.)

Mr. A. W. Howitt, reporting on Victoria as a whole, says:—

The Messmate, also locally called “Stringybark” (E. obliqua), grows in almost all parts of Victoria, excepting the northern areas, from the sea coast up to about 4,000 feet above the sea.

It is found extensively in Gippsland, in the Cape Otway Ranges, and generally in the mountains of the Dividing Range. It also occurs (so far as I remember) in the Ballarat and in the Creswick and Bullarook forests.

The following refers to Gippsland only:—

This eucalypt is principally found in the western and south-western portions of Gippsland, where it, in many places, forms the whole of the forests, or is in others mixed with E. goniocalyx, E. viminalis, E. Gunnii, and E. globulus. It appears to be essentially a littoral form, but ascends the mountains to considerable elevations in the cool, shady, moist gullies on the southern slopes. For instance, in the Great Dividing Range, where the Nicholson River rises, E. obliqua follows up the damp gullies on the south side and forms part of the forest on the summit, together with E. Sieberiana (b), E. viminalis (a), and E. amygdalina (b). It occurs also in Eastern Gippsland, as, for instance, at Buchan, Gelantipy, Bonang, and Bendoc. It varies but little in character, although the form of the fruit is, in some cases—as, for instance, near Port Albert, in the sandy coast country—not quite so truncate ovate as in the typical forms, yet in all cases the peculiar unequal-sided ovate lanceolar or even cordate lanceolar and pointed form of the leaves always marks the saplings and large seedlings from those of any other species. (Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict., 1890–1, vol. II, p. 92.)

NEW SOUTH WALES.

It extends from south to north of the State. Its northernmost limit is a matter for further investigation, but it extends nearly to the Queensland border. It is found growing in company with E. goniocalyx and other species on the Irish Corner Mountain, Reidsdale, Sugarloaf Mountain, and around Monga, both on the eastern and western fall of those mountains. The trees are fairly abundant, and are to be found growing to a height of from 100 to 150 feet, with a girth of from 6 to 10 feet. In New England (Yarrowitch) it is associated with E. viminalis.




  ― 65 ―

Howitt (Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict. II, Pt. 1, 1890, p. 92), makes the statement, as regards Gippsland, that “it appears to be essentially a littoral form, but ascends the mountains, &c.” The first part of this statement does not appear to hold true in New South Wales. The tree grows right on the top of the ranges with us, and never in the littoral lands, as far as observed. It frequents situations where it can be reached and enveloped in the sea-fogs; in this remote sense alone can the word “littoral” be applied to trees with us. On the Tantawanglo Mountain it grows abundantly, in company with “Cut-tail” and other eucalypts, at a height of about 3,000 feet above the sea. At Reidsdale it occurs at an elevation of from 2,000 to 2,500 feet, and in New England nearly 4,000 feet.

Southern.

Tantawanglo Mountan (H. Deane and J. H. M.).

“Messmate,” Candelo (A. Rudder), “Tororago” (? Tarago), Twofold Bay, S. E. Australia, No. 266, S. Mossman.” In Herb. Cant. ex herb. Lemann. Doubtless Tarago, via Braidwood, on an old route to Twofold Bay.

“Woolly-topped Messmate,” Irish Corner Mountain, Reidsdale, Sugar-loaf Mountain, and around Monga (Forester J. S. Allan).

“Broad-leaf Messmate,” Wingello. (J. H. M. and J. L. Boorman). Mr. Boorman's note on another occasion is:—“Large trees, wood of a yellowish colour. Fibrous bark to tips of branches. Inner bark pale yellow, leaves large.”

“White Mahogany,” Wingello (A. Murphy), but not to be confused with either E. pilularis, var. Muelleriana or E. acmenoides.

Northern.

Three miles past Myrtle Scrub (near Yarrowitch, Hastings River to Walcha), one comes across a handsome forest, in basalt country, consisting mainly of a smooth-barked eucalypt (viminalis), and a rough-barked one (obliqua). The discovery of the latter species in this part of the State was quite unexpected, and extends its northern range very considerably. The trees were over 100 feet high, and their trunks 3 feet and more in diameter, so that the trees are fine specimens, and not the depauperate forms of mere outliers or pickets. One of my travelling companions (Mr. J. F. Campbell, L.S., of Walcha), stated that this belt of country extended for 30 miles in a general direction of north and south, roughly following the country boundary, and he believed that this species occurred over the greater portion of that county. Mr. Nivison, of Yarrowitch, states it occurs at least as far north as the Clarence River, and also in Callaghan's Swamp. It would be interesting now to collect the species at points intermediate between Braidwood and New England. In the latter district it is sometimes known as “messmate” and “bastard stringybark.” At Yarrowitch it is known as “white stringybark,” and has been used for building purposes, e.g., verandah floors; but it lacks durability in the ground. The sucker-foliage is very coarse. I have leaves 6 × 5 inches.—(Maiden in Proc. Aust. Assoc. Adv. Science, 1898, p. 539.)




  ― 66 ―

Upper Williams River (A. Rudder).

The following letter to me is interesting, not only because it brings the recorded localities of the species some miles to the west, but because it embodies other experiences of a well-known observer:—

The eucalypt mentioned by you (E. obliqua) is abundant here. In this country it is found on poor stony ranges chiefly. It attains a great size, up to 8 or 9 feet or even more in diameter; such trees are usually short-stemmed. It is said it will not last as posts, but I have never been given satisfactory proof as to its unfitness. A mile or two of fence is erected; the posts are mixed, probably split from three or four different kinds of stringybark. Then twelve or fifteen years later, who can say which is the best? Certainly not the average bushman. It is often, I know, too short to run into rails. I have seen trees that you could not run into 7 foot posts even if struck 6 inches thick. I split a tree of this species 85 feet in length of barrel by 2 feet in diameter; it flowered here last season in January, the trees being great masses of bloom, very noticeable, although distant on the ranges from 1 to 2 miles. It is known here as Woolly-butt, Woolly-bark, or White Stringybark.—(A. R. Crawford, Moona Plains, Walcha, July, 1898.)

I have a specimen collected by Leichhardt, in 1843, at the head of the Gwydir. It is in leaf only, but there is no doubt as to its identity.

Mr. W. Baeuerlen has since collected it at Mount Mackenzie, near Tenterfield. This is near the Queensland border, and it may be expected to be found about Stanthorpe, in the latter State.




  ― 67 ―

Affinities.

THE “Messmate” from the Dandenong and other parts of Victoria is, according to F. Mueller's specimens, also referable to E. obliqua, although it has the leaves rather thinner with the veins more conspicuous. (B. Fl. iii, 205.)

There is a certain amount of variation in the thickness of the leaves of E. obliqua, as in other allied species of Eucalyptus, e.g., regnans. At the same time, I have never seen any well-marked variety of E. obliqua. The nearest approach to a variety is one of the “Stringy-barked Gums” referred to at p. 69, but one would hesitate to add another name to this already long list, unless absolutely compelled to do so.

Howitt says:—

The seedlings of E. obliqua are usually free from hairs, but are very commonly warty and the leaves are lanceolar, shining on one side, and thinner in texture than those of E. macrorrhyncha. They become scattered somewhat sooner than those of E. macrorrhyncha and very much sooner than those of E. Muelleriana, and soon show the marked unequal-sidedness which is so characteristic of this tree.— (Trans. Roy. Soc. Vict., 1900–1, vol. 2, p. 93.)

1. E. pilularis, Sm.—A similarity to E. pilularis (in its var. Muelleriana) has already been alluded to. The similarity exists in leaves, fruits, bark, and other characters. The differences are not easy to define, except with considerable verbiage, and in doubtful cases I can only enjoin careful attention to the types.

2. E. eugenioides, Sieb.—I think the reason that E. obliqua has only been recognised in this State during recent years is because it was confused with this species. E. eugenioides is a stringybark and shades off into the obliqua stringybark on the one hand and the capitellata stringybark on the other. The foliage of E. obliqua is less coarse than that of E. eugenioides, its opercula is less conical, its fruits less hemispherical and with thinner rims.

3. E. piperita, Sm.

E. obliqua can be distinguished readily enough from E. piperita by its thicker and usually larger leaves with more prominent and less divergent veins, the underpage of the leaves neither evidently paler nor less shining than the under side (hence the stomata are in almost equal number on either side of the leaves), in less crowded umbels, in calcyes less smooth, with shorter and blunter lid, the greater elongation of the calyx-tube into the stalklet and also the rather larger fruit with comparatively less constricted orifice. The two are the only species among closely-allied kinds which have the summit of the fruit very considerably contracted, hence no difficulty can arise for recognising E. obliqua.—(Mueller in “Eucalyptographia.”)

I hardly think these two species are likely to be often confused. The coarse, thick foliage of E. obliqua, its stringy bark, in contradiction to the sub-fibrous bark


  ― 68 ―
of E. piperila, are usually sufficient to at once distinguish the species in the field. The orifice of the fruit is sometimes a little contracted, reminding one in this respect, and in its general shape of the capsule, of some forms of E. piperita; but it is larger than the fruit of that species. Drying accentuates the contraction of the orifice in both. The two may be at once separated by the venation and shape of the leaves, shape of the buds, &c.; but the two species approach one another sometimes very closely in the shape of fruits.

4. E. coriacea, A. Cunn.—The fruits of E. obliqua sometimes have great similarity to those of E. coriacea. This is shown in Plate 7, fig. 4, but very rarely is the rim so thick as depicted therein. Mueller says:—

The veins of the leaves are occasionally so much longitudinal as to bring E. obliqua thus far into close approach to E. pauciflora (coriacea), which species is allied also in many other respects, but has a smooth, whitish bark, the outer stamens not all fertile, the fruit hardly contracted at the summit, the rim not so narrow, and the valves nearer to the orifice; the wood of the two is also different. The calyx, however, is likewise somewhat rough in E. pauciflora. (“Eucalyptographia.”)

They could never be mistaken in the field; one is a White Gum and the other is a Stringybark. The succulence and thick rim of the fruits, and the straight (longitudinal) veins and succulence of the leaves of E. coriacea, are usually quite sufficient to distinguish the species.

5. E. Sieberiana, F. v. M.

E. Sieberiana, in comparison with E. obliqua, can be easily recognised by its more rugged and solid bark, which partially secedes, by its less fissile wood, the less prominent veins of its leaves, generally broader and more compressed flower-stalks, outer stamens sterile, fruit less contracted at the orifice, with flatter rim and with valves near the summit. (Mueller, in “Eucalyptographia.”) E. Sieberiana is our common Mountain Ash.

6. E. virgata, Sieb.—The variety altior of this species is closest allied to E. obliqua, and may readily be confused with the “gum-topped” form of the latter species (see page 69).

The following paper, read by me before the Royal Society of Tasmania in 1902, and entitled, “The Gum-top Stringybarks of Tasmania: a Study in Variation,” has a direct bearing on the affinities of E. obliqua with other species. I would specially invite attention to “C,” (E. obliqua), p. 69.

The Gum-top or Gum-topped Stringybark appears to attain its greatest development in Tasmania, although it also occurs in Victoria and New South Wales. It is a tree which may have a smooth, or nearly smooth, bark, with all stages of fibrous covering up to nearly a normal stringybark. Apparently, as a general rule, the bark becomes more fibrous as higher elevations are reached.

I brought the matter of these “Gum-tops” under notice of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science at its Hobart meeting (January, 1902); gave considerable attention to the trees in the field in Tasmania; have received most valuable information on the subject from Messrs. L. Rodway and T. Stephens, of Hobart, and R. H. Cambage, of Sydney, and now believe that I am able to offer a key to the better understanding of what has hitherto been considered a very difficult group of plants.




  ― 69 ―

A. E. Risdoni, Hook. f., var. elata, Bentham; (E. radiata, Hook. f., var. 4, non Sieb.).

I have a specimen of Gunn's No. 1,100, 1842, “J. D. Hooker, Marlborough, Tasmania, 17th October, 1840.”

B. This is the var. 4 of E. radiata, Hook. f. (non Sieb.). See Fl. Tas., I, 137, as follows:—

13. Eucalyptus radiata (Sieb., Pl., Exsicc., p. 475); arbor mediocris, ramulis gracilibus saepe pendulis, foliis anguste ellipticis lanceolatisve mediocribus vix nitidis-nerviis rectis falcatisve, pedunculis subelongatis multifloris, floribus pedicellatis, calyce obconico v. clavato, operculo brevi, capsula pedicellata.

Variat insigniter. . … 4. foliis majoribus lanceolatis nitidis, capsulis ut in forma 3.—Arbor mediocris, ad E. coriaceam tendens. (Gunn, 1,100, 1,110.)

This is a tree which, e.g., on Mount Wellington, may be nearly a White Gum, with but a little ribbon at the butt. It is a variety of E. Risdoni, Hook. f., namely, var. elata, Bentham, (B. Fl. III, 203). In typical Risdoni the sucker leaves are more or less cordate; but in the varieties they tend to become oblong, and even nearly orbicular, and the leaves, as higher levels are reached, become more aromatic.

My identification of Gunn's No. 1,100 appears to be the key to the question, and all the Gum-topped Stringybarks may be looked upon as more or less closely related to this form.

C. E. obliqua, L'Hérit., var. “Gum-topped Stringybark,” Waterworks, Mount Wellington, Tasmania. We have trees at an elevation of 1,100 feet, with the leaves, capsules, &c., of E. obliqua; but bark smooth from the base. The character passes in all forms from this to E. regnans, which in turn passes into broad-leaved forms of amygdalina. (L. Rodway.)

This form undoubtedly shows affinity to E. obliqua. A second specimen Mr. Rodway labelled “The extreme form of E. obliqua, that Mueller considered a form of haemastoma.”

  • (a) “Stringy Gum,” Huon Road (L. Rodway). The suckers are glaucous and lose their “opposite” character at an early stage.
  • (b) Guildford Junction, Tasmania, “Something between E. amygdalina and E. obliqua in bark; glaucous, wood pale.” (R. H. Cambage.)

Another specimen of Mr. Cambage's, from the same district, is labelled, “Bark something like E. amygdalina for, perhaps, 20 feet, then gradually clear.”




  ― 70 ―

An official pamphlet, issued by the Tasmanian Railway Department, refers to “Stringybark Gum, Euc. obliqua. No. 300, T.G.R. Two planks 6 ft. 6 in. by 9 inches by 5 inches, Scottsdale Line.”

I believe this is the same as the following timber, sent to the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886:—

“Stringy Gum.”—This wood bears a strong resemblance in general appearance and texture to stringybark (E. obliqua), but the grain is crossed diagonally with long spots of a lighter shade, which should show a good figure if the wood could be polished. Stringy gum, however, is open to the same objection as stringybark, but in a still more marked degree, for not only does the grain rise after the board is planed, but, unless it is absolutely dry, fibres of the wood become detached from the surface which renders this wood quite unfit for any but rough work. (Allen Ransome, in Kew Bulletin, May, 1889.)

In Victoria also (e.g., Port Road, Gippsland, Howitt) the Gum-top Stringybark runs into E. obliqua.

At comparatively low elevations the leaves of the Gum-top Stringybark are but little glaucous, and have but little aroma. Their affinity to E. obliqua is undoubted. While, as a matter of classification, they may, perhaps, be looked upon as belonging to E. Risdoni, var. elata, I cannot say that those botanists who look upon them as belonging to E. obliqua are wrong. In fact I think they must be looked upon as a variety of E. obliqua.

D. and E. E. regnans, F. v. M., and, therefore, since Mueller (wrongly, I think) has merged this species in E. amygdalina, Labill., E. amygdalina, also.

“Sucker leaves (glaucous when fresh) from base of stem of typical E. regnans, 120 feet high; bark fibrous, but not thick, for about 40 feet. Mount Wellington, 1,500 feet.” (L. Rodway.)

“Silver Top,” Darlimurla, S. Gippsland, Victoria, “Bark rough, resembling that of stringybark; limbs smooth and white, hence local name.” (H. Deane).

There is justification for looking upon these trees as forms of E. regnans.

F. E. dives, Schauer. [See E. hœmastoma, Sm., E. Sieberiana, F. v. M.] I have given reasons (Vict. Naturalist, July, 1901, p. 124; Aust. Assoc. for Adv. Science, Hobart, 1902) for looking upon certain Gum-top stringybarks as forms of E. dives; but while I now think that they may be considered to belong to E. Risdoni, var. elata, I think it is instructive to look upon them as forms of E. dives, with which they have undoubted affinity.

G. E. hœmastoma, Sm.—I believe Mr. T. Stephens first drew attention to a “Gum-top stringybark,” and Mueller called it a form of E. hœmastoma. The name is not now justifiable, and Mueller withdrew it as further information reached him; but as the determination has been so frequently published, it is desirable to draw attention to it now for completeness sake. In “Notes on a species of Eucalyptus E. hœmastoma), not hitherto recorded in Tasmania,” by T. Stephens (Proc. R. S. Tas., 1881, p. 24), he refers to it as “Gum-topped stringybark,” and speaks of it as follows:—




  ― 71 ―

The chief peculiarity of this tree is that while the lower part of the butt is clothed with a thick fibrous bark closely resembling that of the common stringybark (E. obliqua), the upper part, and the smaller limbs and branches are quite smooth, whence its popular name. The timber is highly prized by splitters, and, for general purposes, it is described by many competent authorities as second only to the blue gum, though opinions seem to differ as to its durability. It is found in most parts of the Colony, and appears to grow as freely on the table-lands of the interior, reaching an altitude of not less than 3,000 feet above the sea, as along the coast-line.

It seems to be the same as the following timbers referred to in a Tasmanian official catalogue:—“Gum-topped stringybark, Euc. hœmastoma (?).”

No. 30 B., T.G.R. Two planks, 6 feet by 9½ inches by 6 inches, Scottsdale Line.

Eucalyptus hœmastoma (Gum-topped stringybark), is more a builders' tree for inside work or cart bodies. So far no determination has been made as to its strength and weight, though it is used extensively where it grows. It is not known, however, as a distinct timber in the market. See also “Tasmanian Official Record for 1891” (R. M. Johnston), p. 135.

Mr. A. O. Green, in his useful paper on “Tasmanian timbers,” also refers to the Gum-topped stringybark as Eucalyptus hœmastoma, which should now be dropped.

Following is a copy of a label in Herb., Melb.—“Euc. hœmastoma, Sm.: Gum-topped stringybark of Lake Sorell, Tasmania (T. Stephens). Lower part of stem exactly like common stringybark, but if anything rather less furrowed, the bark being quite loosely fibrous, and easily rubbed into what bushmen call ‘bull's wool.’ ” (a) Parattah, Midland Railway, Tasmania, 1,200 feet above sea-level; also (b) Russell Falls River, 50 miles N.W. of Hobart, 500 feet above sea-level (T. Stephens). These specimens were sent in response to my request for “Gum-top stringybark.”

E. hœmastoma. A messmate (fibrous bark), Mount Mueller, near Mount Baw Baw, Victoria (Jas. Melvin),” so named by Mueller.

H. E. virgata, Sieb. var. altior, Deane and Maiden, and

K. E. oreades, R. T. Baker, from the Blue Mountains, N.S.W., are further removed from E. Risdoni, Hook. f., var. elata Bentham, but are still referable, I think, to the Gum-top stringybarks. Their affinity is towards obliqua.

In my paper read before Aust. Assoc. Adv. Science (Hobart, 1902), I suggested that one form of the Gum-top stringybark was referable to E. virgata, and addressed an appeal to Tasmanian botanists to make further inquiries in regard to these trees, but I am of opinion that some of the Tasmanian stringybarks may be justifiably considered as extreme forms of virgata, should any botanist see fit to do so.




  ― 72 ―

L. E. Sieberiana, F. v. M.

Euc. Sieberiana, F. v. M., Gum-topped Stringybark, East Mt. Field, 1,000–1,500 ft., 1869.” (Mueller's determination.) E. Sieberiana, F. v. M., Mt. St. Bernard, Victoria (J. H. M.). Reference to my paper on “The Occurrence of Eucalyptus dives, Schauer, in Victoria” (Victorian Naturalist, 1901, p. 124) shows that I submit that these specimens belong to E. dives. I have in that paper dealt with the matter so fully that I do not intend to repeat myself on the present occasion.

M. E. delegatensis, R. T. Baker, Delegate Mountain, N.S.W. (W. Baeuerlen). See Proc. Lin. Soc., N.S.W., 1900, p. 305.

I do not give E. coriacea, A. Cunn. (E. pauciflora, Sieb.), as having been confused with E. Risdoni, Hook. f., var. elata, Bentham, but the general resemblance of some herbarium specimens of the Gum-top Stringybarks to E. coriacea is so marked that botanists may well be reminded of it. Hooker first noted the resemblance. (See E. radiata, Hook, var. 4, Fl. Tas. II).

To sum up, we have the following names for the Gum-topped Stringybarks of Tasmania (which extend to Victoria and Southern New South Wales):—

  • (a) E. Risdoni, Hook. f., var. elata, Bentham.
  • (b) E. radiata, Hook. f., var. 4., non Sieber.
  • (c) E. obliqua, L'Hérit.
  • (d) E. regnans, F. v. M.
  • (e) E. amygdalina, Labill.
  • (f) E. dives, Schauer.
  • (g) E. haemastoma, Sm.
  • (h) E. virgata, Sieb., var. altior, Deane and Maiden.
  • (k) E. oreades, R. T. Baker.
  • (l) E. Sieberiana, F. v. M.
  • (m) E. delegatensis, R. T. Baker.

The Gum-topped Stringybarks have, therefore, been duly named, and have been given ten synonyms in addition, not hastily, but by men who have worked on the genus, and have given reasons for their determinations. The great majority of the determinations can still be defended, and the trees may be looked upon as forms of the species referred to. Study of the Gum-topped Stringybarks presents one of the best instances of variation in the genus that I have met with, and affords a most instructive example of the necessity, in this protean genus, of endeavouring to ascertain what is the type, and of bearing it closely in mind.




  ― 73 ―

Explanation of Plates.

Plate 5.

Plate 5: EUCALYPTUS OBLIQUA, L'HÉRIT Fac-simile of L'Héritier's original drawing.



Fac-simile of L'Héritier's plate of E. obliqua, Sert. Angl. t. 20, which was reproduced (only with rearrangement of details) as Pl. 422 of Lamarck's “Recueil de Planches de l”Encyclopedie Méthodique” (Botanique). It was labelled “Eucalyptus obliqua,” and the numbers are those in L'Héritier's original plate, see p. 51. The original drawing was by L. J. Redouté, and the pen-and-ink drawing, from which the lithograph was made, was the work of Miss M. Smith, of Kew Gardens.

Plate 6.

Plate 6: EUCALYPTUS OBLIQUA, L'HÉRIT Northern N.S.W. chiefly. Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.



Eucalyptus obliqua, L'Héritier.

  • 1. Twig bearing mature leaves, buds, and flowers.
  • 2. Fruits.
  • 3. Sucker leaf. Nos. 1–3 are from near Yarrowitch, New England, N.S.W. See p. 65.
  • 4. (Partly in shade). Seedling of a few months' growth from Agnes Bridge, Gippsland, collected by Mr. A. W. Howitt.

Plate 7.

Plate 7: EUCALYPTUS OBLIQUA,L'Héritier (E. pallens, DC., and E. giganteus, Hook. f.). Lithograph by M. Smith.



  • 1. Sieber's No. 606 (E. pallens), from a type specimen. See p. 57.
  • 2. Twig in bud.
  • 3. Immature fruits.
  • 4. Mature fruits (with exceptionally thick rims). Perhaps E. coriacea.
  • 5. Anthers. (Nos. 2–5 are drawn from specimens on one sheet in the Kew Herbarium, labelled “Eucalyptus giganteus, Hk. f., Hobarton, Sassafras Valley, J. D. H.” by Miss M. Smith, Kew.) See p. 58.
  • 6. Fruits (smaller than usual, and displaying slight angularity) from Nine-mile Creek, Gippsland, A. W. Howitt.

Plate 8.

Plate 8: EUCALYPTUS OBLIQUA,L'Héritier (E. fabrorum, Schelcht; E. falcifolia, Miq.). Lithograph M. Smith.



  • 1. Twig, bearing buds and two flowers.
  • 2. Fruits.
  • 3. Top view of a fruit. (Nos. 1–3, “Eucalyptus fabrorum,” Schlecht., Plantæ Muellerianæ, Nov. Holl. Coll., Lofty Ranges, Ferd. Müller, Pharm. Cand. This specimen was examined by Miquel). See p. 60.
  • 4. Twig in flower.
  • 5. Anthers. (Nos. 4 and 5 were drawn from a specimen in the Kew Herbarium, bearing the following label:— “Eucalyptus falcifolia, Miq. in Ned. Kruidk. Arch. iv, 136=obliqua, L'Hér. fabrorum, F. Müller, nr. Adelaide, South Australia.” See p. 62.
  • 6. Seedling showing cotyledon leaves, raised by Mr. W. Forsyth, Centennial Park, Sydney.
  • 7. Seedling, younger than Plate 6, fig. 4, and, like it, collected at Agnes Bridge, Gippsland, by Mr. A. W. Howitt.

Figures 1–5 are from drawings by Miss M. Smith, Kew.

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