― 161 ―

CCLIX. E. tetragona F.v.M.

In Fragm. iv, 51 (1864).

FOLLOWING is a translation of the original:—

A shrub, tree-like, branchlets somewhat winged, or acutely tetragonal, leaves opposite or sub-opposite, coriaceous, lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate or ovate, more rarely orbicular, with rather long and compressed petioles, prominently penniveined, reticulately veined, peripheral vein more or less removed from the margin, peduncles axillary, solitary, compressed, about 3-flowered, rarely absent, pedicels acute angled, shorter than the calyx-tube, which is truncate-ovate, quadridenticulate, several times longer than the depressed hemispherical, cruciate, quadristriate operculum, stamens in four bundles, a little distant from each other or together, fruits rather large, truncate-ovate, or more rarely somewhat globose, 2 to 4 ribbed, 4 or more rarely 5-celled, the smooth rim of the capsule included, the fertile seeds rather large, narrowly winged, near the acute angles.

In the hilly coastal tracts from the Stirling Range to Cape Arid (Western Australia).

A shrub soon growing taller or increasing in season to a rather small tree, with a trunk then of 25 feet; in its young state it is like E. globulus, especially in its branchlets, petioles, and chalky white inflorescence. The petioles, with narrowed curved back wings, are decurrent and as it were 2-keeled. Leaves mostly 2–4 inches long, ¾–2 inches broad, more often acute than obtuse, margin slightly thickened, the younger ones glaucous on both sides, the older ones greener, always opaque, more or less covered with pellucid dots or almost imperforate. Peduncles an inch long or shorter, sometimes cuneate-dilated. Pedicels 1–6 lines long. Bracts almost cymbiform, in the apex of the peduncle, a few lines long, deciduous. Buds campanulate-obovate. Operculum about 3 lines broad and 1 line deep, always in four divisions. Filaments free, although in bundles crowded together alternately with the ribs of the calyx-tube, very numerous, whitish, becoming tawny yellow (fulvescentia), the longer ones measuring 3–4 lines. Anthers small, ovate-cordate. Fruits measuring ½–¾ inch, somewhat contracted at the orifice.

E. odontocarpa, E. tetradonta, and E. eudesmioides have a similar quadridentate calyx in which the stamens are collected more or less distinctly into bundles, but on account of this one point it is not possible to separate Eudesmia from the genus Eucalyptus.

It was then described by Bentham (B.Fl. iii, 259) in the following words:—

Varying from a low scrubby shrub, densely covered with a white meal, to a small tree, of 20 to 25 feet, the specimens often entirely deprived of the whiteness; branches mostly 4-angled or almost 4-winged, rarely terete. Leaves mostly opposite or nearly so or the upper ones alternate, from broadly ovate and very obtuse to lanceolate-falcate and almost acute, rarely above 4 inches long, thick and rigid, with diverging but rather distant veins, the intramarginal one at a distance from the edge. Peduncles axillary, short, thick, angular or flattened, with three or very rarely four or five rather large flowers, on thick angular or flattened pedicels. Calyx-tube campanulate, about 3 or rarely nearly 4 lines long and broad, with four minutely prominent teeth, sometimes very conspicuous, sometimes scarcely perceptible. Operculum depressed-hemispherical, shorter than the calyx-tube, smooth. Stamens 3 to 4 lines long, more or less distinctly arranged in four clusters or bundles, alternating with the calyx-tube, but the claws or dilatations of the disk very short or scarcely perceptible; anthers small, with parallel cells opening longitudinally. Fruit ovoid or nearly globular, truncate, contracted at the orifice, smooth or more or less ribbed, ½ to ¾ inch diameter, the rim scarcely distinct; capsule sunk, usually 4-celled.

  ― 162 ―

Oldfield observes that from the abundance of essential oil this species contains, it is killed down to the ground by the periodical fires, when other plants are only a little scorched, and is thus generally to be found only in an untidy ragged, scrubby form, but he has seen dead stems of 25 feet.

In 1906, Dr. Diels (translation herewith) wrote:—

“Of the species with juvenile characters E. tetragona (R.Br.) F.v.M. is one of the most conspicuous, if observed typically. I have frequently observed this shrub in the south-eastern part of the south-west province of Australia, from Stirling Range to Esperance Bay, in sandy heathy country. One gets the best impression of its appearance if one calls to one's mind the juvenile form of E. globulus, so common in gardens in Europe; the branches are remarkably strongly quadrangular, dusted over with white or bluish-white, the leaves are opposite, thick, ovate-lanceolate to ovate, or rarely orbicular, also strongly glaucous.” (L. Diels, Jugendformen und Blutenreife, p. 94.)

After travelling amongst a good deal of it, I published the following note in 1911:—

“The seedlings have the leaves decussate, glandular and glandular-hairy on branches and along margins of leaves, and also on the backs of the midribs. The branches are very square and the whole plant reeks with oil.

The leaves when young always stalked (flattened stalked) and the young foliage is plum-coloured.

It is a shrub, always straggly, sometimes attaining a height of 10 feet. It is known as `White Marlock,' and is a striking object.

Owing to the dazzling whiteness of the plants, the cream coloured flowers are by no means conspicuous, neither are they large. The colour of the filaments is cream, the anthers are small, and the stamens are in bundles (Eudesmiœ).

It is common from Hopetoun to near Ravensthorpe, also common on the Kalgan Plains.” (Journ. W.A. Nat. Hist. Soc., Vol. III.)

I also found it at Esperance. It is not always opposite-leaved; it is very frequently alternate.


  • 1. Eudesmia tetragona R.Br.
  • 2. Eucalyptus pleurocarpa Schauer.

1. Eudesmia.

Following is a translation of the Latin original:—Myrtaceæ, between Eucalyptus and Angophora.

Generic characters.—Calyx superior, 4-toothed. Petals firmly connate to the 4-striate deciduous operculum. Stamens in four polyandrous bundles, alternating with the teeth of the calyx, connate at the base. Capsule 4-celled, polyspermous, dehiscing at the apex.

The following is in English:—

Eudesmia tetragona Tab. 3. In exposed barren places, near the shores in the neighbourhood of Lucky Bay on the south coast of New Holland in 34° S. lat. and 123° E. long. Gathered both in flower and fruit in January, 1802.

  ― 163 ―

Then comes a Latin description, of which the following is a translation:—

Shrub of 3 to 5 feet, branches spreading, branchlets tetragonous, with marginate angles. Leaves opposite, at one time sub-opposite, petiolate, more often turned back, lanceolate or oblong, coriaceous, compact, margin entire, glaucous, with resinous dots, veins hardly immersed, anastomosing, 3–4 inches long, 14–16 lines broad. Umbels lateral, few-flowered, peduncles and pedicels two-edged, calyx turbinate, obtusely tetragonous, cohering with the ovary, with the angles at the top drawn out into short, subunequal teeth, the two opposite ones a little larger. Operculum depressed hemispherical, with a point, glandular, whitish, marked with four cruciform striæ, slightly depressed opposite the teeth of the calyx, as if composed of the four petals, deciduous. Stamens very many; filaments in four bundles, approximately opposite the petals, hair-like, glabrous, white, the inner ones decidedly shorter; anthers ovate-subrotund, incumbent, yellowish white, dehiscing with longitudinal cells. Ovary included in the adherent tube of the calyx, four-celled; style 1, cylindrical; stigma obtuse. Capsule included and connate with the enlarged turbinate, oblong, woody calyx-tube, dehiscing in four divisions at the apex.

Obs.—There can be no doubt respecting the affinity of this genus, which belongs to Myrtaceæ and differs from Eucalyptus solely in having a striated operculum placed within a distinctly toothed calyx, and in its filaments being collected into bundles. The operculum in Eudesmia, from the nature of its striae, and their relation to the teeth of the calyx, appears to be formed of the confluent petals only; whereas, that of Eucalyptus, which is neither striated nor placed within a distinct calyx, is more probably composed, in several cases at least, of both floral envelopes united. But in many species of Eucalyptus a double operculum has been observed; in these the outer operculum, which generally separates at a much earlier stage, may perhaps be considered as formed of the calyx, and the inner consequently of corolla alone, as in Eudesmia; this view of the structure appears at least very probable in contemplating Eucalyptus globulus, in which the cicatrix caused by the separation of the outer operculum is particularly obvious, and in which also the inner operculum is of an evidently different form.

Jussieu, in some observations which he has lately made on this subject (in Annales du Mus. 19, p. 432) seems inclined to consider the operculum of Eucalyptus as formed of two confluent bracteæ, as is certainly the case with respect to the calyptra of Pileanthus, and of a nearly related genus of the same natural family. This account of its origin in Eucalyptus, however, is hardly consistent with the usual umbellate inflorescence of that genus; the pedicelli of an umbel being always destitute of bracteæ; and in E. globulus, where the flowers are solitary, two distinct bracteæ are present as well as a double operculum. But a calyptra analogous to that of Pileanthus exists also in most of the species of Eucalyptus, where it is formed of the confluent bracteæ common to the whole umbel, and falls off at a very early period. Robert Brown in “Appendix to Flinders' Voyage,” ii, 599, t. 3; also his “Miscellaneous Botanical Works” (Ray Soc.), i, 74.

2. Eucalyptus pleurocarpa Schauer, in Lehmann's Plantœ Preissianœ, i, 132 (1844–5).

The type came from Cape Riche.


It is confined to Western Australia. The type came from coastal hilly tracts from the Stirling Range to Cape Arid, but the original Eudesmia tetragona comes from Lucky Bay, which is a little to the east of Esperance.

“From Cape Arid (Maxwell) to Lucky Bay (R. Brown), Cape Riche (Preiss), South West Bay (Oldfield), the vicinity of Stirling's Range (F.v.M.), and thence northward at least as far as the remotest sources of the Swan River (Th. Muir).” (“Eucalyptographia.”)

  ― 164 ―

From this the idea must not be taken away that E. tetragona occurs in the Swan River District. It occurs in a limited area of the southern district from the Stirling Range district to the Esperance district, Lucky Bay being its furthest record east, although I expect it to be found further east than that.

Following are some specimens in the National Herbarium, Sydney:—

East of Katanning (Dr. F. Stoward); Kalgan Plains (J.H.M.); “Marlock or Spearwood,” Stirling Range (Collector for Andrew Murphy). East from Solomon's Well, Stirling Range (Dr. A. Morrison); “From the south-west front of the Stirling Range to east Mount Barren,” (Collector of Mueller); Cape Riche (Maxwell).

“Large leaf Eucalypt, scrubby, dwarf, 5–10 feet. Poor sandy ridge, midway between the eastern end of the Stirling Range and Growangerup. Only a small patch of it, but Mr. Rowe says there are miles of it on the way to Ravensthorpe.” (W. C. Grasby.)

Hopetoun to Ravensthorpe, plentiful from end to end of the railway which connects the two places (34 miles). It is hardly conceivable that it ends at Ravensthorpe (J.H.M.). Esperance (J.H.M.). Lucky Bay (Robert Brown). The type.


  • 1. With E. eudesmioides F.v.M. See under E. eudesmioides at p. 168.
  • 2. With E. incrassata Labill., var. angulosa.

Drummond's IV, 75, is, according to Bentham, E. incrassata Labill. var. angulosa (figured at fig. 1, Plate 14 of the present work), but a specimen of Drummond's No. 75 (1848) from Herb. Oxon., in bud and flower, is E. tetragona F.v.M. Other specimens bearing the same number are E. tetragona. The explanation is that, under this number, we have mixed material, for the two species are not closely related.