― 73 ―
CCXXXVII. E. calophylla R.Br.

In Journ. Geog. Soc. i, 1831 (1832), 20; Lindley in Bot. Reg. (1841), Pl. Misc. 72.

IN the “General view of the botany of Swan River,” by Robert Brown (Journ. Roy. Geog. Soc. i, 17–21, 1832), at pp. 19–20, we have:—

Of Eucalyptus, the only species in the collection (Fraser's) had been first found on Captain Flinders' voyage at King George's Sound, on the shore of which it was the only useful timber tree, though there of very moderate size. I have named it Eucalyptus calophylla.

Lindley's description was as follows:—

Foliis alternis ovato-lanceolatis marginatis parce punctatis nunc acuminatis nunc obtusis cum mucrone; venis primariis simplicibus pennatim dispositis contiguis subparallelis, umbellis terminalibus et axillaribus 4–5 floris, pedunculatis, operculo minimo hemisphaerico umbonato hinc cupulae c. cardine affixo.

(Of which the following is a translation:—Leaves alternate, ovate-lanceolate, marginate, with a few dots, sometimes acuminate, sometimes obtuse, with a mucro. Primary veins simple, pinnate, close together, sub-parallel, umbels terminal and axillary, 4–5 flowered, pedunculate, operculum very small, hemispherical, umbonate, fixed to the calyx-tube by a hinge.)

Lindley then proceeds in English:—

The name of E. calophylla is current in gardens for this beautiful plant, but I cannot discover it in books. It is a native of Port Augustanote on the south-west coast of New Holland, whence its seeds were sent to Capt. Jas. Mangles, R.N., by Mrs. Molloy, a lady enthusiastically fond of flowers, to whom we are indebted for many acquisitions. Its branches are of a rich reddish brown. The leaf-stalks, which are rather more than an inch long, are of the same colour. The leaves are from 4 to 6 inches long, ovate-lanceolate, flat, pale green, with a rich red marginal line, within which, at the distance of a quarter of a line, runs a faint intramarginal vein; when bruised they have a faint and rather pleasant smell; very few transparent dots are visible; the veins are delicate lines, almost at right angles to the midrib, from three-fourths to one and a half lines asunder, and running somewhat parallel till they lose themselves in the intramarginal vein; they are held together by fine reticulations. The whole appearance of the foliage is that of a Calophyllum. The flowers are large and white, the cup is obconical, 6 lines long, and as much across the mouth; the lid, however, is only half that diameter, and hangs to the edge of the cup on one side, by a narrow neck, so that it cannot fall off; this arises from the cup continuing to enlarge after the separation of the lid. (Lindley, op. cit.)

It is redescribed by Schauer in Plantæ Preissianæ, i, 131 (1844–5).

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Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 255) then described it as follows:—

A beautiful tree, with a more dense foliage than usual in the genus, the rough, corky bark coming off in irregular masses (Oldfield). Leaves ovate, ovate-lanceolate or lanceolate, obtuse or mucronate-acute, rather rigid with very numerous transverse parallel veins, the intramarginal one scarcely distant from the edge. Umbels loose, with rather large flowers, in a terminal corymbose panicle, with one or two sometimes in the upper axils. Peduncles flattened or nearly terete, pedicels longer than the calyx-tube. Calyxtube turbinate and often ribbed on the adnate part, the free part much dilated, often ½ inch diameter. Operculum hemispherical, obtuse or umbonate, shorter than the calyx-tube and continuous with it till the flower expands. Stamens ½ to ¾ inch long; anthers ovate, with parallel distinct cells opening longitudinally. Ovary flat or slightly convex on the top. Fruit when perfect ovoid-urceolate, 2 inches long and above 1 inch diameter, very thick and hard, with a thick neck contracted at the orifice, but sometimes the fruit is smaller, the neck less distinct and less contracted. Capsule deeply sunk. Seeds large, ovate, black, flat or with a raised angle on one face, the edges acute but scarcely winged, the hilum large on the inner face.

It was figured and described by Mueller in his “Eucalyptographia.”

Here we have a case of nomen nudum had the date been, say, thirty years later. Nowadays a date would not be accepted without a description, as was accepted by our predecessors in the case of 1831 or 1832. Probably Robert Brown distributed specimens to herbaria at this time, but the generally accepted dates of species in the old days were often in the nature of a compromise. Schauer in Plantæ Preissianæ 1, 131 (1845), attributes this species to Lindley, but Bentham, Mueller, and all other writers on Eucalyptus are unanimous in attributing it to Brown, and I do not agree that they are wrong. Lindley himself speaks of the name as “current” in his time.

This is the commonest “Red Gum” of Western Australia. The leaves slightly perfoliate in the young state. There is caoutchouc in the young leaves.

Miss Bussell, of Ellensbrook, informed me that Red Gum blossom is called “Booneet” by the blacks. They state that when it is in flower the Groper comes into the reef, so that the blacks can spear them. They make a somewhat similar observation in regard to the plant they call “Whale's Eye” (Candollea cuneiformis Labill).

In bark and general appearance the Red Gum resembles the Bloodwoods of the east. Red Gum is a pale-coloured timber with abundant gum-veins (in this respect also resembling Bloodwood). (It owes its common name to the abundance of its red astringent gum or kino.) I noticed fruit cases made with Jarrah ends and Red Gum sides. At a little distance the pale wood in a fruit case resembles Pine. (J.H.M. in Journ. W.A. Nat. Hist. Soc., Vol. III, 1911).

When travelling in Western Australia a few years ago, this tree was reputed to flower every alternate year, and was said by some to yield the best honey.

Mr. A. H. Smith, of Baker's Hill, W.A., gave the following particulars in the Western Mail of 6th March, 1914, in regard to the flowering of this species. He is a beekeeper, and the notes would have increased value if they had been backed with the dates of the flowerings.

When well grown it is the largest of the trees in the coastal and hills districts. It blooms from February to April, March being the month of full bloom. Every year a few trees, particularly saplings, may be found in bloom, but usually only one year out of three is marked by abundant general blossoms. In other words, the majority of trees bloom one year and miss two. Sometimes only one year is missed,

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sometimes it is three. Apparently the season and the bush fires have something to do with the blossoming. From a beekeeper's point of view the Red Gum honey harvest may be counted on once in three years. As the buds are formed only shortly before blossoming time, one canot tell whether the tree will bloom until December or maybe early in January.

This tree is occasionally planted by beekeepers, particularly in South Australia and Victoria, as a honey plant.

Schauer in Plantæ Preissianæ gives the aboriginal name as “N'gumbat.” Captain J. Lort Stokes, in his “Discoveries in Australia,” ii, 132, gave the aboriginal name as “Kardan.” At Ellensbrook, in the south-west, the name, at least for the blossom, is “Booneet.”

The following inspired paragraph in the Western Mail of 11th April, 1919, shows that an attempt is being made to change the vernacular name of Red Gum, so commonly applied in Western Australia to this tree, and replace it by “Marri,” said to be of aboriginal origin. It remains to be seen if people will give up a name at the bidding of authority, however desirable the change may be.

Mr. Lane-Poole, the Conservator of Forests, is endeavouring to correct and replace the misleading name by which one of our most prominent timbers, the so-called Red Gum, is known. In the eastern States the term “Red Gum” is applied to Eucalyptus rostrata, the wood of which is red, hard, and somewhat resembles in appearance our Jarrah. The name of the tree evidently arose from the colour of the wood. Our Red Gum is Eucalyptus calophylla, and the name “Red Gum” was probably given to it on account of the quantity of red gum or kino which exudes from this tree. In some portions of the South-west, the natives, according to the writings of pioneers, called this tree “Kurden” or “Karden,” while other tribes called it the “Marri” or “Maree.” As the native name “Marri” is simple and in harmony with the native names karri, jarrah, and wandoo, Mr. Lane-Poole has decided to try and get people to adopt this name instead of the present common misleading one (sic) of Red Gum.

I have seen fowls eating the seeds, but do not know the result of lengthened indulgence in such a diet. The fruits, which are large, and of a suitable shape, have had a limited use in country districts as tobacco pipes, both in Australia and South Africa. During the Great War these fruits had a great vogue as protectors of steel knitting needles. Two fruits were connected with strips of elastic by ladies who knitted socks and other garments for our soldiers, and they were willing to pay fancy prices for these fruits and thus the Red Cross benefited.


Var. rosea Maiden, in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xli, 187 (1916), a synonym of E. ficifolia F.v.M. var. Guilfoylei Bailey. As a matter of convenience this will be found under “Affinities” at p. 78 below, since it is not easy to make the subject clear without entering into an exhaustive comparison of E. ficifolia and E. calophylla.

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  • 1. E. splachnicarpa Hook.
  • 2. E. glaucophylla Hoffmansegg (perhaps)

1. In Hooker's Bot. Mag. t. 4036, is a figure of a twig in bud and flower, with immature fruit, sufficient, however, to distinguish the species. This is accompanied by a description in Latin, of which the following is a translation:—

Leaves alternate, oblique, ovate-lanceolate, with a marginal vein, penninerved, coriaceous, with terminal compound umbels, hemispherical operculum, sub-globose, broader than the calyx-tube. Fruit splachniform in shape.

Splachniform means that it resembles the fructification of a moss of the genus Splachnum. Sir William Hooker was a considerable authority on mosses.

2. E. glaucophylla Hoffmg.

The original, in a very rare work, is as follows:—

“(429) Eucalyptus glaucophylla. E. foliis superioribus sparsis petiolatis oblongis acuminatis apiculatis coriaceis glaucis, passim basi inaequalibus, nervis reticulantibus ante marginem connexis.

Hab. in Austral.

Caulis ramique teretia, cumque petiolis purpurascentia. Folia utrinque glauca. Petiolo superiores ad 6? lg. Lamina magis nunc ad ovatum nunc ad lanceolatum accedens, versus apicem sensum angustata 4–6' lg., [S] 2' lt., nervo primario pallido.

An E. longifolia? Link. Enum. Nonullis quadrans, aliis discrepans. Differt enum potissimum: foliis plurimis basi non inaequilibus, nullis ullo modo punctatis, coloris valde glauci, qui tamen in aliis, e.g., purpurascente, expresse memoratur, nullâ mentione, acumine non incurvo, ita ut illam credere non audeam. Quousque sese extendat identitas, pronuncient comparantes arbitri me peritiores.

Peregrinator quidam dixit, eam a cl. Wendland E. glaucescentem vocari; alii peritiores, meam aliam, novamque sp asserunt.” (Hoffmg. Verz. Pfl. Nachtr. 2, p. 113.)

Schauer in Walpers' Repertorium ii, 927, says this is E. splachnicarpa Hook. I have not seen the type, but agree with Bentham that it is “very doubtful,” particularly as there is an absence of glaucousness in the foliage of E. calophylla.


The type came from near Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia, and the species has not been found out of that State. Schauer says it is found around Perth and “totius coloniae.”

Bentham says “Common about King George's Sound, R. Brown, Fraser, Oldfield and others; and thence to Swan River, Fraser, Drummond No. 150; Preiss's No. 250; rare towards Port Gregory, Oldfield.”

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Mueller (“Eucalyptographia”) puts it this way: “Interspersed accompanying E. marginata through nearly the whole area of that species, but less gregarious, reaching its northern boundary about the Hill River, and the southern at King George's Sound, mixed also into the forests of E. loxophleba (fœcunda), but not into those of E. diversicolor, preferring a richer and deeper soil than E. marginata.”

It is a lover of good soil and well-watered districts, and forming as it does a large, picturesque, often scrambling tree, with huge branches, occurring exclusively over large areas, it gives to country what is known as a “park-like” aspect. It occurs within a line roughly connecting Cape Riche and Port Gregory, but we do not fully know the localities north and east of that line.

I have seen the following:—

A specimen labelled “E. calophylla Lindl. No. 250 of Mr. L. Preiss, 1837–1840, Swan River.” Also Drummond's No. 150 (presented by British Museum through Dr. A. B. Rendle).

Following are “modern” specimens in the National Herbarium, Sydney:—

King George's Sound (B. T. Goadby, No. 90). Albany (Henry Deane, R. Helms, J.H.M.). Shrub of 2–3 metres, flowers sweet-scented; near King George's Sound (Dr. L. Diels, No. 2188). “South West Plantagenet” (Dr. E. Pritzel, No. 250). Denmark (Dr. F. Stoward, No. 159). Bow River, also Wilson's Inlet and Deep River (Sidney W. Jackson, presented by Mr. H. L. White). (These are as near to the type locality as I have got; they are a few miles to the east of it.)

Foot of Stirling Range near Mt. Tulbrunup. Juvenile leaves perfoliate (J.H.M.). (This is as far east as I have seen it. It is very abundant in the locality, and has by no means petered out in the district).

Jarrahwood (Forest Ranger Wm. Donovan). Preston Valley, with perfoliate juvenile leaves (Max Koch, No. 1855). (The above are connecting localities between the extreme south-west and the York district.)

Tree of 20–30 feet. Thick, rough, brown, spongy bark. Growing in black humus, foot of hill near Cut Hill, York (O. H. Sargent, No. 280). Bald Hill, near York (O. H. Sargent, No. 421).

Following are in the Perth district:—

Greenmount (Dr. Stoward, No. 285). Guildford (W. V. Fitzgerald). Woodlupine Creek near Perth (A. G. Hamilton). Perth (Dr. J. B. Cleland): Lower Canning River (Dr. A. Morrison, No. 28).

The following locality is on the Midland Railway. 25 metres high, Gingin (Dr. L. Diels, No. 1945). This is the same as the Moore River.

Mueller gives the Hill River (which is on the same parallel as Watheroo, on the Midland Railway) as the northern limit, but this is greatly exceeded towards the north by Port Gregory (Oldfield) which is near Northampton, which is again north of Geraldton.

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With E. ficifolia F.v.M.

Bentham's contrast in the Key (B.Fl. iii, p. 199) is—

Seeds large, not winged … … (E. calophylla).

Seeds (very irregularly) winged … (E. ficifolia).

This contrast has to be taken philosophically. While the seeds of E. ficifolia appear to usually have more wing than those of E. calophylla, those of the latter species are sometimes not without a winged appendage.

This species, as far as is known, is related to E. calophylla, but is very distinct in having pale brown, smaller seeds and a transparent wing running down the back as long or longer than the nucleus. The leaves resemble those of certain species of Ficus of the series of F. elastica. (Translation of original description of E. ficifolia.)

The characteristics by which E. ficifolia can be distinguished from E. calophylla are as follow:—The tree is of less height, the bark is somewhat more deeply furrowed, the leaves are proportionately not quite so broad but longer, the flowers are mostly larger, the calyces assume a reddish hue, the filaments are of a splendid crimson [see my remarks below.—J.H.M.], the fruits less turgid, while the seeds are much paler in colour, have a smaller kernel, and are provided with a conspicuous appendicular membrane. Irrespective of this a very marked difference in the seedlings is observable, as those of E. ficifolia show only slighly or not at all the bristly roughness of E. calophylla, nor are the seedling-leaves inserted above their base to the stalk, as in that species. (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. ficifolia.)

Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 256) pointed out that “certain flowering specimens of E. ficifolia are indistinguishable from E. calophylla, which may possibly belong to this species (ficifolia).”

The seedling of E. ficifolia is described at i, 533, of Lubbock “On Seedlings,” and that of E. calophylla at the same place, and also fig. 344. There is a seedling of E. calophylla figured at the back of the plate of E. calophylla in “Eucalyptographia.” It is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to lay down important differences between the seedlings of E. ficifolia, calophylla and hæmatoxylon. All are more or less scabrous, with large cotyledon leaves (those of E. calophylla are especially large), and with early peltate leaves. I prefer to leave the matter of seedlings to a subsequent Part, when those belonging to some hundreds of species can be compared as a whole, which is the true method to elucidate affinities.

The following notes contrasting E. ficifolia and E. calophylla lay especial stress on the colours of the filaments in the two species, and deal with a hybrid form.

Everyone who knows Sydney and Melbourne, and who pays attention to horticultural matters, must have noticed the great development, during the last few years, of the cultivation of what the ordinary citizen calls “Flowering Gums.” By this he means with flowers comparatively large in size and other than white in colour. Some people, a little more definite, simply call them Red-flowering, and many, Scarlet- or Crimson-flowering indiscriminately, using the terms scarlet and crimson as if they

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were interchangeable, just as they are said to be both “red.” As one to whom flowers of various kinds are often sent, I find that, as often as not, when a man writes “scarlet” he means “crimson,” and vice versa. In the case of trees like Eucalypts and Kurrajongs, which include both scarlet and crimson flowers, the confusion may be inconvenient.

Colour of Flowers (filaments).—The colour of the filaments of E. ficifolia F.v.M., is not given in Mueller's original description, but is stated to be “crimson” in “Eucalyptographia,” in the first half of the formal description, but in the second half it is described as “beautifully cinnabar-red, occasionally varying to a lighter colouration, but never very pale.” Further down, in contrasting E. ficifolia with E. calophylla, he says, “the filaments (of E. ficifolia) are of a splendid crimson.” This may be carelessness, but it probably arises from a not very clear knowledge of English terms for the colours concerned.

I have received from Dr. G. P. U. Prior, Mental Hospital, Rydalmere, near Sydney, flowers which are true E. ficifolia. They are bright scarlet in colour or, in in the language of Plate No. 79 of Rép. de Couleurs, bright fiery-red or russet-orange. The filaments do not contrast with the whitish anthers, for the pollen-masses are scarlet, too. The calyx-tubes are suffused with scarlet, and so the whole inflorescence is of a uniform tone of colour.

Supplementary Note.—We have an indubitable E. ficifolia flowering in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney (January, 1920), which has all the morphological characters of the species, but the rich-coloured filaments (Dauthenay Plate 114), with stamens hardly in contrast, are rich crimson red, and do not belong to the orange or scarlet series at all. Evidently we must take more evidence in regard to these forms.

Dr. Prior's No. 2 is a shrub at present; it is the E. ficifolia alba of nurserymen; it has white filaments, with a suspicion of colour at the base, arising from the coloured rim. Calyx-tube green. A little colour on the operculum.

In E. calophylla R.Br. the filaments are white or creamy, and I saw the trees in flower over large areas in their native habitats. Mr. W. V. Fitzgerald states that the filaments are “rarely pink”; this indicates a tendency.

This muddle that Mueller got into as regards the filaments of E. ficifolia is continued by the nurserymen. Large numbers of plants are sold; indeed, the demand exceeds the supply. I need scarcely observe that precision is desirable, and sometimes necessary, in speaking of the colours of flowers. The following is a useful work of reference:—“Répertoire de Couleurs (quoted as Rép. de Couleurs) publié par la Société Française des Chrysanthémistes,” &c. (Rennes and Paris, 1905). Two portfolios of plates and a handbook.

In Vilmorin's (Paris) Catalogue of Plants, the colour of the flowers of E. ficifolia is given as “rouge carmin,” which is not a colour admitted, as such, into Rép. de Couleurs. The firm is evidently following the late M. Naudin, a great French authority on the genus, who, Mém. Eucal. i, 555, says:—“E. ficifolia qui les a d'un rouge carmin trés brillant, au moins dans une de ses variétés.”

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In examining the catalogues of good Australian firms, I find the following given under E. ficifolia:—

1. “Red-flowering Gum,” 20 feet. This colour may mean any thing.

2. Scarlet, 15 feet; “Scarlet-flowering Gum,” 15 feet. Scarlet is correct.

3. Crimson, 20 feet; Crimson-flowered Gum, 20 feet; “Bright Crimson,” 15–20 feet. This may or may not be a confusion with scarlet, as begun by Mueller; I shall have something to say about a Crimson-flowering Gum presently. See also p. 79.

Then one firm has:—

6. “Scarlet-flowering Gum, 15 feet, literally a blaze of beautiful rich crimson shade.”

In examining the catalogues of Australian nurserymen I cannot find one which describes the colour of E. calophylla correctly. It should be white. One firm calls it “rich pink.”

Several firms, however, have E. calophylla rosea in their lists, either without comment, or “Bright pink, 30 feet,” or “Similar to E. ficifolia, but rosy pink flowers.”

I think this view of the case is correct; the rose- or crimson-flowering forms, which are large-growing (getting size from their calophylla parent, and their colour more or less from their ficifolia parent). The habit of these trees reminds me more strongly of E. calophylla than of E. ficifolia, and as to colour, we have them of all shades of the faintest blush-pink (almost white) to deep crimson.

The flowers of E. ficifolia and E. calophylla are honey-smelling, the perfume heavy and oppressive in a room. They flower mostly in December and January, and the climatic conditions in Sydney during the last season have induced an exceptionally fine display of bloom.

I have received from Dr. Prior flowers, fruits and seeds of what I call No. 1. The flowers are Tyrian Rose in colour; see Plate No. 155 of Rép. de Couleurs. There is a short, white attachment to the anther, which is creamy-white in colour, with a line of Tyrian Rose running round the back, and this colour is sometimes blurred. When old, the anther-cells inside take a pinkish shade. The pollen is creamy-white.

In Proc. Roy. Soc. Qsld., x, 17 (1893), the late F. M. Bailey described “what is probably an accidental sport” in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, with flowers of a “deep rose” as E. ficifolia var. Guilfoylei … “It proved to be only a form of E. ficifolia differing from the normal plant in its smaller foliage, more compact inflorescence, different colour of flowers, with prominent umbo to the operculum and slight difference of seed-wing. I have received specimens of this form both from the late Mr. Guilfoyle and from Mr. J. Cronin. The yellow anthers contrast well with the filaments. The calyx-tubes are urceolate and apple-green, and both on account of the contrast of filaments with anthers and calyx-tubes, the effect in the mass is most charming.

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The Rydalmere tree is 40 feet high, and flourishing. In every respect that I can see, it is identical with E. ficifolia var. Guilfoylei and E. calophylla var. rosea Hort., and I am inclined to think that the more reasonable view is to look upon it as a form of E. calophylla. The habit and size of the hybrid incline to those of E. calophylla, while the pink or purple tinge (in contradistinction to the scarlet of E. ficifolia) naturally occurs in E. calophylla.

Size and habit.—E. calophylla is a huge tree, with gnarled trunk and scrambling, umbrageous branches, the counterpart of the Apple (Angophora intermedia) of eastern Australia. The size is given as up to 150 feet, with a stem-diameter of 10 feet (“Eucalyptographia”), and I am certain this is not exaggerated.

E. ficifolia, on the other hand, is a small tree; I think it rarely exceeds 30 feet in height, and it is usually erect, and not scrambling.

The hybrid may be fairly stated as intermediate in size.

Seeds.—Those of E. calophylla are large, ovate, black, flat, and with a raised angle on one face, the edges acute but scarcely winged, the hilum large on the inner face.

Those of E. ficifolia are of a pale colour, testa expanded at one end, or round one side into a broad, variously-shaped wing (B.Fl. iii, 256). The hilum is towards the end of the seed, and furthest from the wing.

The seeds of the E. calophylla × E. ficifolia hybrid are flatter than those of E. ficifolia, and also paler in colour. As compared with those of E. ficifolia, they are a little darker and less winged, but the hilum is more remote from the wing. In other words, they are intermediate between the two species. Most of the seeds are, however, sterile, and these are pale reddish-brown in colour, shining, and mostly boomerang-shaped.

The sterile seeds of E. calophylla are similar in shape, perhaps a little darker in colour.

It seems to me that, in this rose-crimson series, we have incontrovertible evidence of hybridisation, the two most obvious factors being colour and size; and I, therefore, add E. calophylla and E. ficifolia to the very long list of pairs of species of which the evidence that they hybridise appears to be sufficiently clear.

I have touched on the general question of hybridisation in the genus in Report Aust. Assoc. Adv. Science, 1904, p. 297, in the Proceedings of this Society, xxx, p. 492 (1905), and on many other occasions. (Maiden in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xli, 185, 1916.)