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XXXVIII. E. leptophleba F.v.M.

In Journ. Linn. Soc., iii, 86 (1859).

A TRANSLATION of the original description will be found at Part X, p. 332.

It is briefly described in B. Fl., iii, 221, in the following words:—

A moderate sized or large tree, with a dark, persistent, rugged bark, of which only fragmentary fruiting specimens have been preserved. These appear to me to differ but slightly from E. crebra in the leaves rather thicker and broader, and in the fruits much larger, attaining 4 lines diameter, or rather more. There is some confusion here with E. drepanophylla. [See p. 267. J.H.M.]

Then we have:—

E. leptophleba, or Blackbutt, is a large tree of quick growth, rising to a height of about 100 feet, with a diameter of 3–4 feet; bark dark, persistent, and separating into numerous small pieces (similar to that of E. tessellaris) on the trunk, grey, smooth, and deciduous on the branches. This tree has the general appearance of E. tercticornis, with the bark of E. tessellaris and the fruit of E. crebra. The wood is red, hard, and durable, but not much used, in consequence of being generally hollow in the centre. (P. O'Shanesy, of Rockhampton.) “Contributions to the Flora of Queensland,” 1880, p. 40.

“Yudhulwan” is the aboriginal name, according to Mr. O'Shanesy, who was writing on the Eucalypts between Rockhampton and the Drummond Range.

E. leptophleba has the bark more greyish, less furrowed (than E. crebra), and rather wrinkled, breaking up into numerous small, angular pieces in the manner of E. tessellaris; hence it belongs to the Rhytiphloiæ not Schizophloiæ; its flowers remained unknown, but its lid is double in an early state of growth. To E. leptophleba seems also to belong a tree, observed by Mr. P. O'Shanesy on the Comet River, which sheds the outer layers of its bark from the branches and upper part of the stem; the persistent portion of the bark resembles that of E. tessellaris, but the leaves are more prominently veined, and the fruit is often five-valved, and occasionally even six-valved. (Eucalyptographia under E. crebra).

I have mentioned below, p. 267, that I do not think that Mr. O'Shanesy's tree is free from doubt.

Seeing my note (Part X, p. 333) to the effect that the juvenile leaves of E. leptophleba were unknown, Dr. T. L. Bancroft, then of Stannary Hills, North Queensland, where the species is abundant, obligingly sent me juvenile leaves. They are elliptical or nearly oblong in shape, very coriaceous, equally green on both sides, and 4½ inches in breadth by 7 inches in length are common dimensions. The veins are prominent, roughly parallel, and often nearly at right angles to the midrib. The intramarginal vein is at a considerable distance from the edge.

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I have classified recorded notes on the bark in Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlvii, 81, as follows:—

1. Bark dirty grey, rugose, fissured on trunk and persistent on the branches. This is the original description.

2. “An Ironbark” (B.Fl., iii, 221, under E. drepanophylla). A mistake arising out of the long-continued confusion with E. drepanophylla.

3. Dark persistent rugged bark (ib. under E. leptophleba). Perhaps this is intended for a free translation of the original description.

4. “Breaking up into numerous small angular pieces in the manner of E. tessellaris” (Eucalyptographia, under E. crebra).

5. “A box, hardly to be distinguished from E. populifolia.” (Dr. T. L. Bancroft, in a letter to me).

Mr. R. H. Cambage favoured me with a photograph of the tree, which is a Box. I hope to reproduce my photographs of typical Eucalyptus barks later.


E. Stoneana F. M. Bailey in Queensland Agric. Journ., xxiii, p. 259 (1909) with two plates.

The type comes from Stannary Hills, North Queensland (Dr. T. L. Bancroft).

Mr. Bailey described it as follows:—

Bastard Gum-leafed Box of the locality. Plates 31 and 32. A large tree with a rather close, hard, persistent greyish bark, about ½ inch thickness. Wood, outer yellow, inner red. Branchlets angular, slender, and probably more or less glaucous when fresh. Leaves alternate, thin-coriaceous, 6 to 10½ inches long, from 7 lines to 3 inches wide, broadest and roundly-cuneate at the base, the apex blunt or acuminate; margins more or less repand, midrib alone prominent, principal parallel transverse nerves distant, but faint like the reticulate veins, the intra-marginal nerve always close to the edge of leaf. Oil-dots very numerous and minute. Petioles slender, from ½ to 1¼ inch long. Inflorescence axillary, panicles elongated, primary peduncles about 1 inch long, secondary 9 lines, irregularly angled, bearing umbels of from two to six flowers, often somewhat crowded at the end of the branchlets. Flowers, when fully expanded, about 1 inch diameter. Operculum thin, hemispherical, or with a very minute point. Stamens about 4 lines long, inflected in the bud, all fertile, in three irregular rows. Anthers globose, bursting at the top. Style slightly exserted, stigma peltate, scarcely larger than the style. Fruit oval-globose, including the pedicellate lower-half about 8 lines long, diameter about 4 lines at the top, the outside portion smoothish, the lower pedicel-like portion angular; rims thin, capsule deeply sunk, the top dome-shaped; cells four or five. Seed dark brown, bluntly triangular to thick cuneate and furrowed, about 1 line long.

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It is only known from Queensland. The type comes from the Gilbert River, which flows into the Gulf of Carpentaria, near its south-eastern corner. Its known localities near are from Cape York, along the eastern side of the Gulf of Carpentaria, and southerly to the Burdekin River, apparently at no very great distance from the sea. Its identity has only recently been established, and therefore the attention of collectors is invited to it.

[“E. redunca is bounding east and west an extensive longitudinal belt of E. leptophleba, as shown in an excellent map, issued recently with an important document by the W.A. Forest Board.” (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. redunca.) This is probably the “Map of part of the Colony of Western Australia showing timber forests of ….” (six principal timbers), published in 1880. It is probably a misprint for loxophleba (foecunda), the York Gum—E. leptophleba not occurring in Western Australia. The correction is published as the mistake is somewhat serious, because E. leptophleba is so little known, even yet.]

Following are some specimens I have authenticated, or which are in the National Herbarium, Sydney:—

Sources of the South Coen River, York Peninsula, in fruit (Stephen Johnson). (Labelled drepanophylla by F.v.M.) Figured as E. leptophleba at fig. 3, Plate 48, Part X.

“Endeavour River, N. Holland, Lieutenant King” (afterwards Admiral P. P. King), ex herb. Lambert in herb. Cant. Ripe fruits figured as E. leptophleba, fig. 5, Plate 48.

Palmer River, in fruit only (? Th. Gulliver). (Referred to as E. drepanophylla in “Eucalyptographia,” under E. crebra.

Daintree River (Fitzalan), in flower only. Labelled E. drepanophylla by Mueller.

“S.E. Carpentaria, Box-tree,” in fruit only. (E. Palmer, 1882). Labelled E. drepanophylla by Mueller.

Trinity Bay (Cairns). Referred to E. leptophleba by Mueller himself.

In bud, Rockingham Bay (Dallachy). Labelled E. leptophleba by Mueller.

“Grey Box.” Chillagoe, west of Cairns (E. Doran, No. 10).

Eucalyptus leptophleba was noticed soon after the forest country was entered, and it extends westerly to Alma-den and towards Forsayth, but from about this latter locality it seems to give place to a smaller and paler-coloured form of Box Tree (No. 4162), which was found intermittently as far west as the Flinders and Cloncurry Rivers. E. leptophleba is a Box tree with a rather thick bark and long leaves, the rough bark extending to the branchlets. The timber is reddish-brown, with a fairly thick sapwood. It seems to favour the low, rather than the hilly land. (R. H. Cambage, in Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W. xlix, 397, 1915.)

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“Box-trees, more on the lowlands than on the hills. Box-bark to branchlets. Wood reddish-brown towards centre. Rather thick rim of sapwood on small tree. Trees up to 60 feet. On granite at 1,600 feet. Alma-den (R. H. Cambage, No. 3903, with photo.).

“Bastard Gum-leaf Box.” Timber red. Stannary Hills, south-west of Cairns (Dr. T. L. Bancroft). Dr. Bancroft supplied me with a fine series of specimens, leaving nothing to be desired in completeness.

Ravenswood, Burdekin River, in fruit (S. Johnson, No. 15, 1883). Labelled E. drepanophylla by Luehmann.

“Dispersed through the scrubby country westward from Gogango.” (P. O'Shanesy, of Rockhampton.) As this is much the most southerly locality recorded, it would be desirable to confirm it, although O'Shanesy doubtless got the determination from Mueller. I have suggested (Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlvii, 81, 1913) that perhaps O'Shanesy's tree may be E. Cambageana Maiden.


1. “Near to E. patellaris F.v.M.” (Original description.)

For E. patellaris see Part XXXIX, p. 257, with figs. 7a–d, Plate 163. It is a species very little known, evidently also a Box. Only one authenticated specimen is known, a portion of which is figured. It differs from E. leptophleba in the more strongly marked venation of the leaves and in exsertion of the valves of the fruits. Mueller's statements as to the affinity of the two species, collected by him at nearly the same time, and described by him shortly afterwards, must be respected, and we can say no more until E. patellaris is rediscovered.

2. With E. crebra F.v.M.

Bentham (B. Fl., iii, 221) says that the fragmentary fruiting specimens “appear to me to differ but slightly from E. crebra in the leaves rather thicker and broader, and in the fruits much larger, attaining 4 lines diameter or rather more.” Bentham was referring to what he looked upon as a coarse form of E. crebra named E. drepanophylla, and that form and E. leptophleba have been thoroughly confused, as already indicated. E. crebra is, however, an Ironbark, and E. leptophleba a Box.

I confess I do not see its close affinity at the present time. It is one of the most coarse foliaged of all species of Eucalyptus, and it has very large flowers and fruits for a Box—one with a red timber. Indeed, it seems closer in superficial resemblance of herbarium material to some of the Ironbarks, which has caused the confusion with E. drepanophylla. E. pruinosa, a tropical “Box,” somewhat resembles it in the fruits.