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CCLVIII. E. Normantonensis Maiden and Cambage.

In Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., lii, 490 (1918.)

“Box”-arbores parvae altae pedes decem ad triginta, interdum aliquem de “Mallee” admonentes. “Box”-cortex in arboris trunco et ramis magnis. Rami superiores interdum leves et subvirides. Arbores localiter ut “Box” cognitae.

FOLIA JUVENILIA.—In conditione immaturissimâ non visa, sed sub-glauca sunt, ramusculi angulares, folia lanceolata, exique petiolata, longa circiter novem cm. (tres uncias et dimidium) et 2–2·5 cm. lata, irregulariter pinnata, venae secundariæ apud angulum 45° e mediâ costâ; vena intramarginata clare a margine denota.

FOLIA MATURA.—Lucide viridia, aliquanto nitida, contusa nullum oleiodorem dant. Angusta-lanceolata, pyramidata speciatim in apice, directa vel aliquanto falcata, petiolata, ad decem cm. (quatuor uncias) et longiora, et plerumque infra unum cm. lata, viridia cum flavedine, utrobique color idem, cum multis inconspicuis fere pinnatis venis secundariis.

FLORES.—Pedunculi aliquanto breves terminales in exemplis conducibilibus, in singulis umbellis circiter quinque ad septem flores aliquanto parvi. Gemmae obtuse clavatae, calycistubus gradatim pyramidatus in pediculum. Gemmae saepe alterius vel externi operculi vertigium gerunt. Operculum hemisphaerium cum mucrone brevissimo, in longum circiter supremi calycis tubi trientem. Antheræ ut in E. gracilis.

FRUCTUS.—Fructus parvus, cylindraceus-urceolatus, circiter quatuor mm. longus et tres mm. latus. Ora angusta ab annulo stamines constante coronata, capsula profunde suppressa.

TYPUS.—R. H. Cambage, No. 3,930 (fructifer).

Pauca millia passuum ad orientem et meridiem e “Normanton” (sinus “Carpentaria” civitas “Queensland”) in formationem arenaceam et cretaceam calculos ferreos continentem.

Etiam in viam a “Normanton” ad “Cloncurry” inter rivos “Normanton” et “Flinders” occurrit.

Small Box-trees of 10 to 30 feet, sometimes suggestive of Mallee. Box-bark on trunk and large branches. Upper branches sometimes smooth and greenish. Known locally as “Box.”

JUVENILE LEAVES.—Not seen in the earliest state, but are sub-glaucous, branchlets angular, leaves lanceolate, shortly petiolate, up to say 9 cm. (3½ inches) long, and 2–2·5 cm broad, irregularly pinnate, the secondary veins at about an angle of 45 degrees with the midrib; intramarginal vein distinctly removed from the edge.

MATURE LEAVES.—Bright green, somewhat shiny, give no odour of oil when crushed. Narrow-lanceolate, tapering, particularly to the apex, straight or somewhat falcate, petiolate, up to 10 cm. (4 inches) and more, and usually under 1 cm. wide, yellowish green, the same colour on both sides, with numerous not conspicuous almost pinnate secondary veins.

FLOWERS.—Peduncles shortish, terminal in the specimens available, each umbel with about five to seven rather small flowers. Buds bluntly clavate, the calyx-tube gradually tapering into the pedicel. The buds often carry the remains of a second or outer operculum. The operculum hemispherical, with a very short mucro, about a third as long as the ridge calyx-tube. Anthers as in E. gracilis.

FRUITS.—Fruit small, cylindroid-urceolate, about 4 mm. long and 3 mm. broad. The narrow rim crowned by a persistent staminal ring, the capsule deeply sunk.

Type. R. H. Cambage, No. 3,930 (in fruit).

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A few miles to the east and south of Normanton (Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland), on a sandy cretaceous formation containing ironstone pebbles. Also occurs on Normanton–Cloncurry road between Normanton and Flinders River (R. H. Cambage).

Normanton (Ivie Murchie).

The description was drawn up from Mr. Cambage's No. 3,930, with the exception of that of the ripe bud and stamens, in which Mr. Murchie's specimen has been used.

The trees provisionally identified as Eucalyptus gracilis (No. 3,930) are growing a few miles to the east and south of Normanton on a sandy cretaceous formation containing ironstone pebbles. They are small box trees from 10 to 30 feet high, often with branching stems suggestive of Mallee, leaves bright green and shiny, yielding no smell of oil when crushed, box bark on trunk and large branches, some small branches smooth and greenish, adult leaves from 3 to 4½ inches long, about 1 cm. wide, juvenile leaves up to 3 inches long and 1¼ inches wide, fruits about 4 mm. long and 3 mm. in diameter. Leichhardt appears to have passed through this identical forest after crossing the Norman River, the native name of which he gives as the “Yappar.” He writes:—“The hills were composed of iron-sandstone ..… The intervening flats bore either a box-tree with a short trunk branching off immediately above the ground,” &c. (R. H. Cambage, in Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlix, 422–3, 1915.)

I have received the species from Berricannia, between Muttaburra and Hughenden. Trees quite common about the homestead. (Mr. Svensson, through C. T. White.)

Dr. H. I. Jensen says that a medium sized gum answering to the description of E. Normantonensis is very common on desert sandstone country, associated with Lancewood (Acacia Shirleyi?) and Yellow Jacket (E. peltata).


With E. gracilis F.v.M.

It is closely allied to this species, but the leaves are of a different texture, and there is a sticky exudation in patches, the result of insect punctures. The juvenile leaves are broader and have a different venation to that of E. gracilis. There are no conspicuous oil-dots on the buds, as in the case of E. gracilis. The fruits, although very similar in shape to those of E. gracilis, are crowned by the persistent staminal rings as in some of the Ironbarks and Boxes.

J. E. Tenison-Woods (Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vii, 337) speaks of E. gracilis in Queensland, but we now know that most of the specimens to which he refers belong to E. Thozetiana F.v.M. Local observers might, however, inquire if those trees seen by him “on the dry sandy scrubs on the Burdekin River, not far from Charters Towers,” refer to that or the present species.

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This species had already been referred to twice in the Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., viz., xlix, 326–7, in which I looked upon it as an aberrant form of E. calycogona var. gracilis. The second occasion is in xlix, 422, by Mr. R. H. Cambage, who collected the material both he and I provisionally described. He points out that it is probably referred to by Leichhardt, “Overland Expedition to Port Essington,” p. 337, in words he quotes. It seemed to us that it is worthy of specific description. The first passage referred to is as follows:—

“I now desire to invite attention to a form first received from Mr. Ivie Murchie from Normanton, Queensland, not far from the Gulf of Carpentaria, in November, 1911, under the name of `Box Wood.'

Enquiries failed to elicit any further particulars until Mr. R. H. Cambage collected it at the same place in August, 1913. He obtained a full suite of specimens, and furnished the following particulars:—`No. 3,930. Small Box-trees of 10 to 30 feet, sometimes suggestive of Mallee. Leaves bright green, somewhat shiny, give no odour of oil when crushed. Box-bark on trunk and large branches. Upper branches sometimes smooth and greenish.

Formation pebbly (ironstone) and sandy; cretaceous (?).

Also occurs on Normanton–Cloncurry road between Normanton and Flinders River.'

So far as I am aware, var. gracilis has not been recorded previously from nearer than 1,500 miles, and it is not surprising that the Normanton specimens differ a little from the type. I fail to get hold of any characters of sufficient importance to separate it from var. gracilis, and therefore note E. calycogona var. gracilis as an addition to the Queensland flora.

Compared with typical var. gracilis, the leaves are of a different texture, and there is a sticky exudation in patches, the results of insect punctures.

Mr. Cambage's note of absence of oil does not mean that there is no oil at all, for the oil dots can be seen and are not scarce, but in comparison with other forms there is an absence of oil. At the same time the leaves from southern specimens of var. gracilis vary a good deal in oil content. The most important character is that the inflorescence is terminal in the Normanton specimens (chiefly those of Mr. Murchie), whereas it seems to be usually axillary in all our other specimens.”