― 84 ―

CCXXXIX. E. maculata Hook.

In Icones Plantarum, t. 619 (1844). The figure shows mature leaves, buds and flowers.

FOLLOWING is a translation of the original description:—

A tall tree, the trunk spotted, leaves alternate, petiolate, lanceolate, drawn out into a long point, pellucid-dotted, purplish at the edges, copiously and distinctly veined, obliquely spreading, panicles axillary and terminal, sparsely branched, shorter than the leaves, operculum double, the external one conical-hemispherical, mucronate, shorter than the sub-angled calyx-tube, the interior one (the corolla) hemispherical membranous, shining. Spotted Gum, MSS. No. 37. (The type is therefore doubtless Backhouse's No. 37 from the Maitland district, see p. 87.)

The rest of the description is in English, and is as follows:—

A large tree, Mr. Backhouse observes, of which the bark falls off in patches, giving it a spotted appearance. The timber is nearly equal to oak, but the sap or outer layers decay rapidly. The lid or operculum is double, inner one membranaceous; this inner one has justly been considered by Mr. Brown as the corolla, and it here forms an exactly hemispherical glossy membranaceous cup, which often continues to adhere after the outer one has fallen away. “The gum from the tree contains benzoic acid.” (Backhouse.)

It is described as follows by Bentham:—

A lofty tree with a smooth bark falling off in patches so as to give the trunk a spotted appearance. Leaves ovate-lanceolate or lanceolate, straight or falcate, acuminate, mostly 4 to 6 inches long or even more, with numerous parallel but rather oblique veins, not so close as in the preceding species (E. pyrophora), and rather coarse, the intramarginal one close to the edge. Umbels 3-flowered, usually several together, on short leafless branches, forming a panicle or corymb. Peduncles and pedicels short and thick, scarcely angular. Calyx-tube in the young bud shortly cylindrical, when open broadly turbinate, 3 to 4 lines diameter. Operculum hemispherical, much shorter than the calyx-tube, the outer one much thicker and more persistent than in most species where it has been observed, and usually umbonate or shortly acuminate, the inner one (corresponding to the single one of most species) thin, obtuse, smooth and shining. Stamens attaining 4 or 5 lines; anthers ovate with parallel distinct cells opening longitudinally. Ovary flat-topped. Fruit ovoid-urceolate, usually about ½ inch long, and nearly as much in diameter, the rim narrow, the capsule deeply sunk. (B.Fl. iii, 258.)

Mueller figured and described it in the “Eucalyptographia.” Some additional notes on the species, which need not be reprinted here, will be found at Vol. I, p. 154 of my “Forest Flora of New South Wales.”

This is the common Spotted Gum of New South Wales and Queensland, because of the mottled appearance of its smooth bark. There are other Spotted Gums, but none more characteristic in appearance than this.

  ― 85 ―

“Yah-ruigne” was the name of the aborigines of the Illawarra, and “Booangie” of those of Cumberland and Camden, N.S.W., according to the late Sir William Macarthur. Mr. Forester Allan tells me that “Thurraney” was the name used by the South Coast blacks. “Urar” is a Brisbane name, according to Mr. T. Petrie. “Kangar” is a name employed by Queensland aborigines to denote the variety citriodora.

Many years ago Mr. Charles Hedley informed me that in Queensland certain persons were affected by what is known as “Spotted Gum rash” after handling timber of this species. He instanced one case (at Maryborough) in which a man was habitually so indisposed after touching sawn Spotted Gum that he declined to handle it further. This acridity of the sap must be rare, as I have only heard of one other case, and this was in New South Wales. I have dealt with the matter in regard to other Eucalyptus timbers in my “Forest Flora of New South Wales,” Vol. V, p. 175.


The original describer quoted the following localities for the species:—“Interior of N. Holland (Fraser) [which was not far from the coast.—J.H.M.]; Maitland, Liverpool and Newcastle (Backhouse).” Liverpool is about 20 miles south of Sydney, and Newcastle and Maitland are about 100 miles to the north.

It is confined to eastern Australia, extending from Gippsland, Victoria, in the south, from south to north of New South Wales, along the coast and coastal ranges and in Queensland to at least as far north as the Rockhampton district, while the variety citriodora occurs as far north as the Gulf of Carpentaria. It prefers ridges and poor country, and is commonly found with Ironbark.


In “Eucalyptographia,” under E. Watsoniana, Mueller records that Reader found E. maculata in the neighbourhood of the Genoa River. It was subsequently known from a specimen sent by Mr. J. H. King to the late Dr. A. W. Howitt, from the eastern slope of a spur from the Tarra Mountain, on the track from Buchan to Orbost, Gippsland, and about 15 miles from the former place, where it forms a small compact colony of a few acres in extent. (Vict. Nat., xiii, 150, 1897.) I hope our southern neighbours will connect this locality with the most southern of New South Wales localities, for I do not know any very close to the border of the two States.

New South Wales.

Southern Localities.—“The Spotted Gum practically disappears after crossing the Bega River near Tathra. I believe there is no sign of Spotted Gum at Eden, and none between Eden and the Victorian border; there is a forest or two about Bermagui; there is also some between here (South Bermagui) and the Bega River, but once the Bega River is crossed the tree is lost.” (Forest Guard W. Dunn.)

  ― 86 ―

Bodalla district (Dromedary Mountain). (W. Baeuerlen.)

Having travelled about much in localities where the Spotted Gum occurs, I notice that it is usually accompanied by the Burrawang (Macrozamia spiralis)—both sure indications of poor soil. Usually when the Burrawang disappears, Messmates, Stringybarks, &c., make their appearance and the Spotted Gum disappears. Sometimes I travel for miles over a tract of country where I see no Burrawang, but as soon as I notice the Burrawang making its appearance again I always expect that the Spotted Gum will appear also, which is usually the case. (W. Baeuerlen, writing from Bat man's Bay.)

George's Basin and Wandandian and South Coast road generally (J.H.M.). With intermediate leaves. Milton (J. L. Boorman). Nowra (J.H.M.).

A specimen in Herb. Kew in bud only labelled “Sydney Woods, Paris Exhib. No. 95, Spotted Gum, 100–150 feet; W. Macarthur, 1854,” is E. maculata. To trace the history of this specimen we must turn to the N.S.W. Catalogues of the Paris Exhibition of 1855 and of the London Exhibition of 1862. In the former catalogue it is called “Spotted Gum” and “Mottled Gum,” and the aboriginal name is given as “Yah-ruingne.” In the latter catalogue Illawarra is given as the place where the name is in use, and “Booangie” as the name in the Counties of Cumberland and Camden.

We now leave the South Coast, and the following locality is on the tableland, perhaps as high (2,500 feet) as I have met it. Nye's Hill, Wingello (not common). (J. L. Boorman.)

Very large intermediate leaves. Theresa Park to Werombi, Camden district (J.H.M.). Liverpool to Bringelly (J.H.M. and J. L. Boorman). “I believe picked up at Mulgoa, April, 1810.” (Copy of label in George Caley's handwriting, British Museum, No. 43.)

On sandy shale, ¾ mile south of Prospect Hill, near Parramatta (R. H. Cambage, No. 3590). We are now practically at Sydney.

Following is an admirable account of the range of the species chiefly on the “South Coast” of New South Wales, and with particular reference to the geological formations on which it occurs:—

E. maculata … occurs just where the monoclinal fold, already alluded to, has thrown down the shales and exposed the Hawkesbury Sandstone, about 4 miles before The Oaks is reached. This species … is widely distributed throughout the coastal districts of New South Wales. By the casual observer, erect trees of Angophora lanceolata are sometimes mistaken for E. maculata. In going south from Sydney along the Illawarra railway line, the Spotted Gum is not seen, except for a few trees just beyond Wollongong, until the neighbourhood of Nowra is approached, after which it becomes common, and occurs at many points along the Milton road, such as at The Falls, and beyond Tomerong, where the geological formation is of Permo-Carboniferous age. It is absent, however, from the igneous formation of Milton, but reappears to the south immediately the sedimentary rocks are reached, being plentiful towards Bateman's Bay and also at Wagonga, where some of the very finest specimens of this species may be found. It extends into the north-eastern part of Victoria, but is only very sparsely represented in that State. On parts of the North Coast of New South Wales it is a common tree, and occurs in the Maitland-Singleton district on the Permo-Carboniferous formation in company with E. crebra, the Narrow-leaved Ironbark. It extends to within about 20 miles of the Great Dividing Range at Crooked Creek, on the Tenterfield-Casino road. E. maculata is decidedly rare, however, in the Sydney district, and generally speaking, appears to avoid the Hawkesbury Sandstone formation. There are a few exceptions to this discrimination, one being its occurrence on the sandstone just near the monoclinal fold from The Oaks to the western side of Mulgoa, while others are at Newport, and on the Appin road, about 5 miles from Campbelltown. At Newport, the Spotted Gum is growing on the rocks which form a remnant of the base of the Hawkesbury

  ― 87 ―
Sandstone immediately overlying the Narrabeen Shales; while at The Oaks and near Campbelltown it occurs on the top of fairly thick beds of Hawkesbury Sandstone, from which the overlying Wianamatta Shale is, in places, only just barely removed. Observations in regard to the distribution of this species tend to show that it does not seek either a highly siliceous sandstone, or a shale or slate of basic origin, but flourishes best where there is a combination of the two; and while it usually avoids the Hawkesbury Sandstone areas, as too siliceous, it is also absent from the deepest portions of the Wianamatta Shale. Its occurrence on this latter formation denotes the presence of sand in the vicinity. (R. H. Cambage, in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xx vi, 551 (1911).)

Western Localities.—In New South Wales the most western locality known to me is Poggy, a wild district a few miles from Merriwa. There is also some on the Mudgee. Cassilis road. Parish of Curryall, County of Bligh (Forest Guard J. B. Yeo). This is in the Cassilis district.

Northern Localities.—Occurs on the Ranges at Ourimbah, 6 miles from Gosford (J.H.M.). Near Clarence Town (Forest Guard Ikin).

Common between Newcastle and Maitland (J.H.M.). Maitland (James Backhouse, No. 37, about 1837). Presented by Kew. The type. Ravensworth (Forest Guard L. A. MacQueen). Dungog (W. F. Blakely).

Taree (E. H. F. Swain).

Anderson's Sugar Loaf, Macleay River (J. L. Boorman).

Grafton to Coff's Harbour (J.H.M. and J. L. Boorman). South Grafton (Henry Deane). Lawrence, Clarence River (J. V. de Coque). Lower Southgate, Clarence River (W. W. Froggatt). Very large intermediate leaves; Copmanhurst, Upper Clarence River (J. L. Boorman). Casino, Richmond River (District Forester Pope).


Canungra, near Mt. Warning (J. L. Boorman.)

Enoggera, Brisbane (F. M. Bailey). With young peltate leaves, Brisbane (J.H.M.). “Fairly large trees of 60-80 feet, with a diameter of 3-4 feet still remain, where it has been preserved against the constant demands on this valuable timber.” Waterworks road, Brisbane (J. L. Boorman). Aspley, 5 miles north of Brisbane (E. Bilbrough).

“Spotted Gum, Burro, Taylor's Range.” (Dr. L. Leichhardt, 1843.)

Hatton Vale, Laidley (W. H. Pimlott).

Kalbar (formerly Engelsburg), 76 miles west of Brisbane, via Ipswich and Dungandan (W. H. Martin).

Goomboorian Range, near Gympie (R. N. Jolly). Brian Pastures, Gayndah (S. A. Lindeman). Bundaberg (J.H.M.). East of Rockhampton, near sea coast (P. MacMahon).

The allusions to Spotted Gum by Leichhardt in his “Overland Expedition” are few; two of them are at pages 20 and 48. On the banks of Hodgson's Creek he points out that Spotted Gum and Ironbark (a combination often confirmed since Leichhardt's time) formed the forest, while at Robinson's Creek (p. 48) he found the same two species.

  ― 88 ―


Var. citriodora F.v.M.

I have gone into the question of whether E. citriodora is a variety of E. maculata or not at pages 154, 155, 164, of Vol. I of my “Forest Flora of New South Wales.”

Mueller (Fragm. ii, 47) used the name E. citriodora and so did Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 257). The latter, by placing it between E. corymbosa and E. terminalis, indeed he says “evidently very closely allied to E. corymbosa,” did not realise its close affinity to E. maculata, although he remarks, under E. citriodora, “Woolls' Spotted Gum from Parramatta [which is E. maculata.—J.H.M.] is very much like E. citriodora.” Later, Mueller (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. maculata) thus speaks of it:—

E. citriodora can only be considered a variety of E. maculata, differing merely in the exquisite lemon-scent of its leaves, and holding as a variety precisely the same position to E. maculata as Boronia citriodora to B. pinnata, or Thymus citriodorus to T. Serpyllum. Mr. Bailey, who had opportunities to compare the two trees promiscuously growing, confirms their specific identity.

Under the circumstances it seems proper to attribute the authorship of the variety to Mueller.

Mr. Bailey, in his “Queensland Flora,” records it as E. maculata var citriodora.

I have occasionally crushed the young foliage of E. maculata and detected the citriodora perfume. This was the case in some specimens collected by Mr. J. L. Boorman at Copmanhurst, Clarence River.

Messrs. E. Schimmel & Co., Miltitz, Saxony, in “The Volatile Oils” (Gildemeister and Hoffman, p. 536), describe the oil of E. maculata, and say that “it cannot be distinguished from the following oil (E. citriodora).” See my “Forest Flora” i, p. 155. This means that, while the oil of E. maculata is less in quantity, its composition is similar to that of E. citriodora.

An adaptive character, like the presence of oil, cannot or should not in itself be used for specific determination.

That is the evidence. The two trees (maculata and its variety citriodora) do not differ in important morphological characters (the young shoots of the latter are more hairy, and perhaps the leaves are narrower and the buds less pointed, but these differences do not amount to much), and their oils run into each other, the relative proportion of Citronellal being vastly greater in the latter. Here, there seems to me, is a case of a variety clearly enough, and as I think that the term variety is a useful botanical designation, I employ it in the present instance.

At the same time, the distiller and seller of oil (like the forester and gardener) are not to be blamed if they choose the simple descriptive name “Eucalyptus citriodora” for the unwieldy one of “Eucalyptus maculata variety citriodora.” Although I would much like to see trade names approximate to the botanical ones, ordinary people will have to be more educated before they will accept ponderous names for everyday use. The application of botanical names is subject to laws; trade names, which sometimes simulate them, are not so controlled, and divergences between the two kinds of names are sometimes inevitable.

  ― 89 ―

There is a note on the size of this tree at Wide Bay, Queensland, and on a planted one in the Sydney Botanic Gardens, in Dr. George Bennett's “Gatherings of a Naturalist in Australasia” (1860), p. 265. Dr. Bennett got Mr. Norrie, the Sydney chemist, to distil the leaves for oil and the specimen was sent to Kew, and must have been one of the earliest prepared from the species.

Synonyms (of variety).

1. E. citriodora Hooker, in Mitchell's Journ. Trop. Austral., 235.

A translation of the brief Latin description is as follows:—

Branches angular, brownish, minutely tuberculate, leaves broad-lanceolate, petiolate, pinnulate, spreading parallel veined, green (not glaucous).

Then follows the statement:—

Sir William Hooker has ventured to name this Eucalyptus, though without flower or fruit, from the deliciously fragrant lemon-like odour, which exists in the dry as well as the recent state of the plant.

I have seen the following specimens:—

(a) “1846, July 16, No. 153 bis. Sub-tropical New Holland, Lieut.-Col. Sir T. L. Mitchell. Eucalyptus citriodora.”

(b) “1846, July 17, No. 217. Height 6 feet. [Evidently young scrub, not yet arrived at the flowering stage.—J.H.M.] Leaves perfumed like lemon. Sub-tropical New Holland. Lieut.-Col. Sir T. L. Mitchell. Eucalyptus citriodora Hooker, 204.”

(c) “Eucalyptus citriodora Hook., Sub-tropical New Holland, Col. Mitchell.” All in Herb. Cant. All in leaf only; (b) in young leaf, (a) and (c) in older, broad, shining and markedly veined. All are E. citriodora Hook.; (a) and (b) are ex Herb. Lindley.

Imperfect specimens were described by Bentham in B.Fl. iii, 257, as E. citriodora, from Balmy Creek, Mitchell, and Wide Bay, Moore.

2. E. melissiodora Lindley in Mitchell's Journ. Trop. Austral., 235. (non F.v.M., which = peltata.)

The brief description is in Latin, which may be translated as follows:—

Branches ferruginous-tomentose, scabrous, leaves on both sides with rusty papillae, scabrous, ovate oblong obtuse, peltate above the base (flowers and fruits unknown).

I have examined the following specimens:—

(a) “No. 153, July 16, 1846. Sub-tropical New Holland. Lieut.-Col. Sir T. L. Mitchell. Height 5 feet. `Strong balm scent.' Eucalyptus ? melissiodora.” Herb. Cant. ex Herb. Lindl.

  ― 90 ―

(b) “Eucalyptus melissiodora Lindl. Sub-tropical N. Holland. Col. Mitchell.” Herb. Cant.

The label of (b) is in the same handwriting as (c) var. citriodora (I think Lindley's handwriting).

The principal difference between the type specimens of melissiodora and citriodora lies in the greater amount of rusty tomentum on the leaves and stem of the former. The difference is, however, very slight and variable.

E. melissiodora was described by Mitchell, when he first came across it, as having “a powerful odour of balm.” (Melissa officinalis.)

At the same time and place he found “another bush, with leaves of the same shape, and glossy, but having a perfume equally strong of the lime.” This was called E. citriodora. Neither species had flower or fruit.

Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 254) doubtfully describes this in the following words:—

A shrub, exhaling a powerful odour of balm, and covered with a rusty resinous pubescence, short and scabrous on the foliage, almost bristly on the branchlets. Leaves oblong-lanceolate, obtuse, more or less peltately inserted on the petiole above their base, the veins transverse, but not close. Flowers and fruit unknown.

Queensland.—Sandstone rocks, Balmy Creek, Mitchell. Possibly a barren state of E. citriodora or some allied species, in which the leaves of the flowering branches are not peltate.

3. E. variegata F.v.M. in Journ. Linn. Soc., iii, 88 (1859). The specific name was given because of the appearance of the bark.

Following is a translation of the original:—

A tree, branchlets angular, leaves alternate, moderately petiolate, lanceolate-linear or narrow-lanceolate, falcate elongate, long acute, shining, thickly penniveined, covered with pellucid dots, peripheral vein very close to the edge, umbels paniculate, 3-flowered, the calyx-tube semiovate, twice as long as the hemispherical operculum, and like it ecostate, fruits truncate-ovate, 3-celled, 2-4 times longer than the pedicel, ecostate, smooth at the vertex, valves included, seeds winged. Habitat in the grassy hills near the Burnett River. Flowering in the summer.

A rather tall tree, trunk smooth, ashy-white, variegated with the grey or dirty reddish outer layer of the bark. Leaves mostly 4-7 inches long, and an equal number of lines broad. Peduncles 2-3 lines long, angular. Buds ovate. Fruits 5-6 lines long, gradually contracted at the apex.

Called Spotted Gum-tree by certain of the colonists. In habit it hardly differs from E. tereticornis and E. rostrata, except in the trunk, which is stripped of the outermost layers of bark as far as the base, and not covered with old woody, flaky, wrinkled layers of bark.

  ― 91 ―

Range (of Variety).

The type came from Balmy Creek, a name given, presumably, because of the presence of this tree, whose odour reminded Major Mitchell of Balm. See Mitchell's “Tropical Australia,” p. 235, and it is marked on his map, opposite p. 189. It is south of Mantuan Downs, and Dr. J. Shirley informs me that it is 20–30 miles west of Springsure.

In his “Queensland Flora” Bailey records it from Gladstone, Rockhampton, Springsure, Herberton and Port Denison.

In the Catalogue of the Queensland Forestry Museum (1904) the record is given “Plentiful around Gladstone and the Port Curtis district, Rockhampton, west side of Eungella Range (Mackay district), Herberton, Mount Garnet, and a large quantity on the Hughenden-Charters Towers Railway Line.”

With peltate young growth. (Queensland, recorded as E. melissiodora Lindl.; with no further details.)

Bundaberg and Gladstone Railway (correspondent of F. M. Bailey).

Duaringa, 65 miles west of Rockhampton (J.H.M.). O'Shanesy points out that E. exserta and E. citriodora are often found in company. See this work, Part XXXII, p. 35.

“Scented Gum,” Stannary Hills. (Dr. T. L. Bancroft.) Irvinebank (correspondent of F. M. Bailey).

Dr. H. I. Jensen informs me that the Lemon-scented Gum abounds on mixed soils and on the porphyries on the Herberton-Irvinebank tableland, but seeks good deep soils.

“Scented Gum.” “Found sparsely throughout the coastal range north of Town ville. Grows in ridgy country, tall growing with spare top, pink bark, timber grey, dark heart.” Near Atherton (District Forest Inspector H. W. Mocatta).

This tree which is so very common on the east side of the coast range in New South Wales, was thought at no very distant date to be almost confined to this colony. But it changes its character, and under another name, E. citriodora or Lemon-scented Gum, extends right up to the waters of the Carpentaria. It is always a fine tree and loves the warm sheltered eastern slopes of the ranges. But in tropical Queensland it becomes a very much finer tree. The peculiar spotted appearance of the stem is exchanged for a uniform greyish blue tint. The tree is tall and stately, with a large sound trunk, and, in fact, there are no Eucalypts which can at all compete with it in size except E. Raveretiana, and its leaves now send forth a strong perfume which is most grateful at a distance and like roses, but close it is most powerful and pungent and exactly like essential oil of lemon.… I have tried to fix the southern limit of the citriodora variety. Between Maryborough and the Burnett is the first place where the peculiar smell of rose leaves becomes apparent in the open forests. Mr. C. Moore is quoted as having found it in Wide Bay. On the road between Gympie and Maryborough, or about 120 miles north of Brisbane, the spotted variety of E. maculata is very abundant on stony ridges. The spotted character has disappeared somewhat and the trunks of the trees have a uniform reddish hue which is very remarkable. Here, too, one notices that the trees exude great quantities of a dark brown resin that ought to be of some commercial value. The strong rose scent in the woods, which is indicative of this tree, begins about the Burrun River on the overland road between Maryborough and Bundaberg. The tree is, however, nowhere abundant, and I think

  ― 92 ―
places may be found where the two varieties grow side by side on the Burnett. After this, the spotted variety disappears and the scented kinds are confined to a few stony spots of the most elevated ridges as one journeys north. The farthest north I have seen it was on the summit of the Slate Range, 2,100 feet above the sea, on Carpentarian waters, in about Lat. 16° S. It extends no great distance inland. Fifty miles from the coast is the farthest I remember to have seen it.… In the young state the shoots are often hispid from an abundance of coarse glandular hairs of red colour. This variety has more the odour of balm than of lemon, and hence was described as a different species. This is E. melissiodora Lindley, of the Flora, which was found by Mitchell and described in “Tropical Australia.” The appearance for a young Eucalypt is very remarkable. The foliage is short and rough and quite rusty looking, from the glands which become bristly on the small branches. (Rev. J. E. Tenison-Woods in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vii, 338, 1882–3.)

Affinities (of Species).

E. maculata is a well-defined member of the Corymbosæ, but it stands out from all of them because of its smooth, blotched bark.

With E. Torelliana F.v.M.

This is the nearest species to it, but it has black, scaly bark up to about 10 feet up, while E. maculata has practically no rough bark. Then let us turn to Plate 160, Part XXXIX, for E. Torelliana. It will be seen that the leaves of both species are peltate and hairy in their earliest stages, developing into the usual lanceolate-leaved form, but in E. Torelliana the persistence of the broad, juvenile form is greater than in E. maculata. The flower buds have a good deal of resemblance, but the opercula are more conoid and more sessile in E. Torelliana. The fruits are more urceolate and more distinctly urceolate in E. Torelliana, while there is an absence of the warty excrescences so often seen in the fruits of E. maculata.