― 133 ―

CCLIII. E. erythrocorys F.v.M.

In Fragm. ii, 33 (1860.).

FOLLOWING is a translation of the original description:—

Shrubby, leaves opposite, thickly coriaceous, long and narrowly lanceolate, somewhat falcate or slightly curved, imperforate, densely and spreadingly penniveined, with long petioles, the intramarginal vein somewhat distant from the edge; the peduncles thick, compressed, generally three-flowered, the calyxes large and sub-sessile, calyx-tube obpyramidate-tetragonous, plicate-costate, at the angles with a short apiculate tooth, several times longer than the scarlet operculum, depressed at the vertex, quadri-costate at the angles, swollen and wrinkled, fruits very large, very broadly campanulate, the top convex, deeply marked in front of the very rounded indentations of the margin, and broadly surrounding the orifice of the four-celled capsule; the valves red, converging, sunk below the vertex of the fruit, seeds winged.

At the Murchison River and toward Shark's Bay, in rocky plains.

A shrub 8–10 feet high, called “Illyarie” by the natives, by whom it is named on account of its ornamental character. Branches somewhat terete. Branchlets compressed-tetragonous, sturdy. Leaves of the same colour on both sides, shining, 3½ to 7 inches long, under ? to 1 inch broad, slightly pointed at the base and very much so at the apex; veins prominent. Peduncles about 1 inch long. Buds about 1 inch long or slightly shorter, contracted towards the base. Calyx tube dark green, bicostate on each side, from whence it is somewhat plicate. Operculum twice as broad as deep, cinnabar-red from the observation of the finder, preserving the red colour remarkably when dried, sometimes with and sometimes without a small umbo. Filaments innumerable, the collector has observed them to be purple, in dry specimens in a young state they were yellowish-green and half an inch shorter. Limbs four, confluent; the peduncles very thick, semi-orbicular, corresponding with the sides of the calyx-tube. Anthers sub-ovate, bearing a conspicuous gland at the back of the apex. Pollen golden. Fruits about 1½ inch long and broad, twelve-ribbed, ribs confluent in threes at the apex; flat top of the width of the orifice, undulate, smooth; vertex of the capsule itself somewhat smooth, valves acuminate when contracted. Seeds 1½ to 2½ lines long, some are sterile and angular-clavate, others half renate or half-round or deltoid, always smooth; I have not seen ones bearing the embryo. One of the most magnificent species of the genus; it now seems to have been known to Drummond (compare Hooker, Kew Misc., v, 121). I have hardly seen the flowers well opened; if the stamens, on the observation of Drummond, are collected in bundles of four, then the species should be added to the Eudesmicæ.

Drummond's earlier account is as follows:—

“A square-capsuled opposite-leaved Eucalyptus, not yet seen in flower, grows among the hills near Dundarangan; and a beautiful yellow-flowered Eucalyptus grows on the limestone hills to the west of the Valley of the Lakes; it grows to a tree from 20 to 30 feet high, the leaves resemble those of the Red Gum (E. calophylla), they are hispid on the young shoots, glabrous on the flowering branches, they are always opposite in vigorous growth, sometimes alternate on old stunted trees; the cups are of a bright scarlet colour, and have a verrucose appearance; when the capsule expands in a quadrangular form, the angles carry with them the stamens in four divisions; the seed-vessels are nearly as large as those of the Red Gum. The scarlet cups, fine yellow flowers, and opposite shining leaves of this tree make it one of the finest species of the genus.” James Drummond in Hooker's Journal of Botany, vol. 5, p. 121, 1853.

From Bentham we learn that this description applies to Drummond's 6th Coll. No. 70, fragments of which I have figured at figs. 1a and 1b, Plate 184.

Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 258) re-described the species in the following words:—

A shrub of 8 to 10 (Oldfield) or a tree of 20 to 30 feet (Drummond). Leaves mostly opposite or nearly so, or the upper ones alternate, all petiolate, long-lanceolate or broadly linear, often above 6 inches long,

  ― 134 ―
rigid, but with the oblique rather irregular veins conspicuous on both sides, the intramarginal one near the edge. Peduncles axillary or lateral, very thick, flat and broad, ½ to 1 inch thick, flattened pedicels. Calyx-tube turbinate, very thick, irregularly ribbed, ½ to ¾ inch long, and nearly ¾ inch diameter at the top. with four more or less prominent angles, terminating in exceedingly short, obtuse, scarcely prominent teeth. Operculum red, thick and fleshy, depressed and flat-topped, broader and shorter than the calyx-tube, obtusely square or almost four-lobed, divided into four quarters by raised ribs, forming a cross on the top, each quarter transversely wrinkled, with a raised rib along the centre, opposite to the calyx-teeth. Stamens very numerous, inflected, forming four bundles alternating with the calyx-teeth, the claw or entire part very short and broad, or four clusters if the claw be considered as a mere dilatation or lobe of the margin of the staminal disk. Ovary much depressed, flat-topped. Fruit nearly hemispherical, ribbed, 1 to 1½ inch diameter, the margin of the calyx horizontally dilated, the disk very broad and obtusely prominent, giving it the shape of an old-fashioned hat, the capsule depressed in the centre, the valves not raised.

Mueller redescribed it, with a figure, in his “Eucalyptographia.” In that work he repeats that the filaments are sometimes purplish, thus adding it to the number of species with filaments of more than one colour.

“To the description should be added:—Juvenile leaves broader than the adult, margin very smooth, broadish and both sides and the branchlets stellato-scabrous.

“This species is often shrubby, but sometimes a tree of 10 metres, in calcareous coast-lands, it seems to be restricted to the Irwin district. Mueller's Eucalyptographia' plate unsatisfactory.” (Diels and Pritzel, Engler's Jahrb. xxxv, 444, 1905.)

The authors do not say in what respects Mueller's plate is unsatisfactory—perhaps in the absence of juvenile leaves which were, however, sent by Drummond, although apparently Bentham and Mueller did not see them. Probably they refer to the reduced scale of the drawing, which is thus calculated to mislead, and the plan of the flower, at figure 2, which does not show the stamens in bundles.

Following is the history of two out of several plants in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney, raised from Mr. W. D. Campbell's seed. We find it requires a sheltered situation to do well. Sown 10th October, 1913, seedlings drawn in various stages, planted out 11th May, 1914, flowered 12th April, 1917.

  • (a) 12 feet high and 7 inches girth at 3 feet from the ground (23/4/17). 19 feet 5 inches high, and 13 ft. 6 in. in girth (15/10/20).
  • (b) 16 feet high, and 7 inches girth at 3 feet from ground (23/4/17). 20 ft. 3 in. high, and 10½ inches in girth (15/10/20).

The following description is taken from fresh material from the above two small trees:—

Stems white, smooth. The mature leaves opposite, and the branchlets decussate. The inflorescence displays the most charming colour-scheme of any Eucalypt known to me. The axes or branchlets bearing the inflorescence are of a dull purple lake (see Dauthenay, Plate 170, shades 2–4). The long, flattened peduncles are moss-green (see Dauthenay, Plate 272, shades 1 and 2). The buds are handsome because of the large, fleshy, biretta-like opercula, of an old carmine red (see Dauthenay, Plate 107, shades 1 and 2), which contrast well with the rich, grass-green ribbed calyx-tubes (Dauthenay, Plate 273, shades 2–4). The inside of the large operculum is smooth and white, and the outside has four raised, cruciform ridges, the general surface being more or less rugose. The falling of the operculum is succeeded by the protrusion of filaments, at first greenish-yellow (primrose-yellow), and afterwards lemon or golden-yellow (see Dauthenay, Plate 16, shades 2 and 3). The staminal disc or ring being broad and white, it effectively contrasts the colours of the calyx-tube and filaments. See also p. 135, for a further account of the stamens and staminal ring.

  ― 135 ―

The stigma is punctate and green, thus contrasting with the stamens. The top of the expanded flower shows a rim or hub round the base of the stigma (top of the ovary) and radiating from it, in the direction of the greatest widths of the staminal rings (greatest lengths of stamens) are four equidistant ribs or spoke-shaped processes which enclose four shallow troughs which are filled with honey and are therefore nectaries.

The inflorescence is alike bizarre and beautiful; the plant is most charming.

Fresh fruits sent to me from spontaneous trees by Mr. Campbell were up to 2¼ by 2¼ inches (therefore, much larger than those of the type), with sessile or rudimentary flattened pedicels.

Bundling or Tuftiness of the Stamens.

Robert Brown included “Stamens in four polyandrous bundles, alternating with the teeth of the calyx, connate at the base” as a character in his definition of Eudesmia as a genus distinct from Eucalyptus. He dropped the genus as untenable, later on, but Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 258) preserved the name to indicate a sub-series (IX) of Eucalyptus, which he called Eudesmieæ. His definition of the sub-series includes “Stamens sometimes (my italics) very shortly united in four clusters, alternating with the calyx-teeth.”

The matter of grouping will be dealt with subsequently, at the proper place, but Miss Flockton has produced such an excellent figure (fig. 2g, Plate 184), of the bundling or apparent bundling of the stamens in a large-flowered species such as E. erythrocorys that a few remarks may be offered at this place. In the Eudesmieæ we have (so far as the material at our disposal permits us to judge) various degrees of bundling (compare fig. 3c, Plate 185, for another example, E. tetrodonta). E. tetragona and E. eudesmioides will follow in the next part.

In E. erythrocorys, the white staminal ring (which is ultimately deciduous) is undulate on both margins, becoming wider at the crests or tops of each undulation, of which there are four, and becoming narrowest in each trough. An effect of the narrowness of the staminal ring at the four troughs is that there is a diminution of the number of stamens, since there is less room for them, and thus an appearance of tuftiness or bundling is caused. As a matter of fact there is not, at all events, at the period of the fall of the operculum, any complete break in the continuity of the stamens, though, as the flower develops, there is some deciduousness where the trough is deepest. If therefore the use of the word “bundle” or “tuft” means a complete break in the continuity of the stamens, it is incorrect, but there certainly is an appearance of bundling.

Further, there is variation in the lengths of the filaments, the longest emerging from the crests of each undulation and the shortest at the troughs. This character increases the appearance of tuftiness of the stamens.

It may be convenient at this place to contrast the stamens of five species of Eudesmieæ where I have adequate stamen-material. The material of the other species is not so satisfactory.

E. erythrocorys (see Plate 184, this Part). The stamens are in four bundles, usually quite round the undulating staminal ring, but there are not so many in the trough, nor so long as those on the crest. The outer row expands last, in the following species the inner row expands last.

  ― 136 ―

E. tetrodonta (see Plate 185, this Part). The stamens are in four bundles, but are disposed round the staminal ring, which is not undulate in this case.

E. tetragona (see Plates 188, 189, Part XLVI). The stamens are in four bundles on an undulating staminal ring, with a distinct gap between the four clumps. This species is especially interesting because it is that on which the genus Eudesmia was founded.

E. eudesmioides (see Plate 189, Part XLVI). The stamens are in four bundles on an undulating shallow staminal ring. There is a gap without stamens between each pair of bundles.

As regards E. tetragona and E. eudesmioides, the stamens appear to have thinned out or disappeared where the staminal ring becomes narrowest at the troughs. Speaking generally, as regards the Eudesmieæ, whether the ring is of varying thickness or not, the stamens appear to thin out at four parts of the periphery.

E. Baileyana (see Plate 182, Part XLIV, where, however, the stamens are not shown in the mass). The stamens are in four distinct bundles right round the staminal ring, although more deciduous between the bundles.


It is confined to Western Australia. The type was collected “at the Murchison River, towards Shark's Bay, in rocky plains,” by Oldfield.

In “Eucalyptographia” its range is defined as “In stony undulating bushy country between the Irwin River and Shark Bay, rather rare.” “Not observed nearer (to Shark's Bay) than 20 miles south of Freycinet Harbour. The plants indigenous around Shark's Bay and its vicinity.” (Mueller, Parliamentary Paper, W.A., 1883, p. 14.)

This would bring it not many miles north of the Murchison River, and it would be desirable to enquire into its limits more accurately, which are at present recorded as 10 miles south of Dongarra (which is at the mouth of the Irwin River) on the Arrow-smith road in the south, and 20 miles south of the Freycinet estuary in the north. We do not know its eastern boundary. If Drummond's Dundaragan be identified, as it seems to be, with the modern Dandaraga, then the southern boundary is removed to say, the Moora district, Moora being a railway station 108 miles north of Perth. It would be very desirable to obtain more accurate information in regard to the range of one of the most interesting species of the genus.

I have seen specimens of Drummond's No. 70 (6th Coll.) in Herb. Calcutta and Herb. Cant. “Limestone Hills, west of the Valley of the Lake,” which is, of course, near Dundaragan, as already quoted from Drummond's original letter. This place has been already referred to. I have also seen it from the Murchison River, in Herb. Barbey-Boissier, collected by Oldfield.

  ― 137 ―

“Tree of about 25 feet, rather straggly, has white bark, looks like a white gum but is slightly different. The pink buds look peculiar.” Arrowsmith-road, about 10 miles south of Dongarra (W. D. Campbell).


With E. megacarpa F.v.M.

“Among Eucalypts, it resembles E. globulus on account of the shape of the bud. The latter species appears also to grow in the humid tract of land on the coast of south-west Australia near Cape Leeuwin, as far as it is possible to judge from the specimens of our carpological collection.” (N.B.—This was an error, the globulus-like species being E. megacarpa J.H.M.). (Original description.)

“It differs widely from the few other species of that section (Eudesmia) in the large size of its flowers and fruits, in the shape and coloration of the lid, as well as in the very broad expansion of the summit of its fruit, irrespective of some less conspicuous differences.” (“Eucalyptographia.”)

It is convenient to have a small table of characters illustrating all the Eudesmieæ, as follows. The number preceding each species-name indicates the Part of this work in which it has or will be treated.

44. Baileyana 45. tetrodonta   45. odontocarpa 44. similis 44. lirata 46. eudesmioides 46. tetragona 45. erythrocorys
Eastern Species.  Eastern Species. 
Size …  Medium-sized tree or larger. “Black Stringybark.”  Medium-sized tree to very large. “Messmate.”  Shrub …  Medium-sized tree. “Yellow Jacket.”  Medium-sized tree.  A shrub or small tree up to 20 feet. “WhiteGum.”  Tall, glaucous shrub or small tree. “White Marlock.”  Tall shrub or small tree. Branches decussate. 
Bark …  Hard, thick, fibrous, inter-locked. A coarse stringybark.  Whitish, fibrous, persistent.  Yellow flaky  Rough and greyish, soft and friable.  Smooth, a little scaly at butt.  Smooth, a little scaly at butt.  Smooth, with a little ribbony bark. 
Timber   Pale brown …  “Pale” (W.V.F.), “Reddish-brown” (R.H.C.)  Brownish …  Pale-chocolate brown towards heart; most of it white.  Pale … …  Pale brown. 
Leaves   Broadly - lanceolate.  Long-lanceolate. Huge juvenile leaves.  Linear-lanceolate.  Ovate acuminate, then narrow lanceolate.  Lanceolate …  Lanceolate …  Reek with oil …  Very large. 
Flowers   Filaments cream-coloured.  Buds reminiscent of large cloves. Filaments yellowish-white.  Filaments yellow.  Filaments cream-coloured.  Filaments cream-coloured.  Very large filaments primrose yellow. Opercula carmine-red. 
Fruits   Nearly globular  Oblong - cylindrical.  Oblong-cylindrical (smaller than preceding).  Truncate-ovoid  Truncate-ovoid perhaps larger and more globular than similis Quadrangular  Ovoid to nearly globular. Rather large.  Tetragonous, quadrangular, 2¼ × 2¼ inches. Largest fruit in genus. 

  ― 138 ―

Thus we have one purely eastern species (Baileyana), one eastern species (similis) which probably will be found further west. Confined to the tropics are tetrodonta, odontocarpa, and lirata. Sub-tropical Western Australia has eudesmioides, erythrocorys, and tetragona, of which the first two are true west and the last south-west; the first is inland (approaching the coast), the last two are coastal.

Apparently the largest tree is E. tetrodonta, but E. Baileyana, E. similis and E. lirata are fairly large trees. E. tetragona and E. erythrocorys are tall shrubs or small trees, while E. odontocarpa, of which we know very little, has hitherto only been recorded as a shrub. The branchlets of all are quadrangular. E. Baileyana and E. tetrodonta are more or less fibrous-barked, the former being the more stringy. E. eudesmioides, E. tetragona, and E. erythrocorys are Gums, while E. similis is a Yellow Jacket, and E. lirata may prove to be so.

The leaves of all are opposite or sub-opposite, thus showing affinity to Angophora, though in the fruits the latter genus more closely resembles the Angophoroideæ section of Eucalyptus. The Eudesmieæ have interesting affinities, but a fuller discussion of them must be deferred until the affinities of the whole of the species are dealt with.

E. tetragona stands out because the leaves reek with oil, and because of its glaucousness.

Speaking generally, the filaments are arranged in four bundles or tend to be so; the filaments are yellowish white or yellow, those of E. erythrocorys being bright primrose yellow, E. Preissiana being the only species that can approach it in this respect. The opercula of E. erythrocorys are unique in that they are shaped like a biretta, and are of a rich carmine-red colour.

The buds of E. tetrodonta and E. odontocarpa are reminiscent of cloves, the former being the larger.

The outstanding characters of the fruit are brought out in the table, the huge fruits of E. erythrocorys (the most remarkable species amongst the Eudesmieæ) and the smaller globular fruits of E. Baileyana, being perhaps the most striking.