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CCLX. E. eudesmioides F.v.M.

In Fragm. ii, 35 (1860).

FOLLOWING is a translation of the original:—

Dull green, leaves alternate, opposite or sub-opposite, ovate or narrow-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, slightly curved, more seldom sub-falcate, spreading and prominently penniveined, covered with bright dots, umbels with not more than three flowers, peduncles and pedicels shorter than the calyx, rarely of the same length. Buds obovate, indistinctly tetragonous, calyx-tube ovate-campanulate, two or three times longer than the hemispherical operculum, the tooth of the fascicle of stamens thickened, semiorbicular and pointed; fruits ovate-campanulate, scarcely angled, 3–4 celled, the vertex of the capsule smooth, valves inserted near the margin of the fruit, the fertile seeds surrounded by a very narrow wing.

In sandy plains and limestone hills near the Murchison River, at least up to Mount Curious, as well as towards the Bay (Shark's) (Walcott and Oldfield).

Shrub 4–12 feet high. Called “Mallalie” by the aborigines. Branches rather smooth, branchlets compressed tetragonous. Leaves for the most part ½–4 inches long, ¼–1 inch broad, with very short and sometimes long petioles, thinly coriaceous, imperforate when old, marginate, pale-green, never hoary, peripheral veins rather distant from the margin. Peduncles at first about 2 lines long, seldom longer, like the pedicels more or less angular. Operculum traversed with four very smooth sutures often scarcely to be observed. Calyx-tube 2–3 lines long, hardly denticulate. Stamen-bundles alternating with the calyx-teeth, leaving behind an incurved tooth with a semiorbicular contracted base. Filaments white or yellowish; rose-coloured at the base, the longer ones 2½ lines long. Anthers pale, sub-ovate. Style barely a line long. The indurated fruit ?–½ inch long, with the mouth sometimes distinctly and sometimes not at all contracted, wrinkled. Sterile seeds yellow, less than a line long, angular; fertile seeds blackish, 1?–2 lines long, rhomboid-subovate, acutely angled, very narrowly and thinly winged near the margin.

The genus Eudesmia, if we except the disposition of the stamens, cannot be discerned from any species of Eucalyptus.

The filaments, rose-coloured at the base, bring this species into the list of those which have bi-coloured filaments. It belongs to a group where the reddish colour is, like that of E. Sieberiana, not wholly diffused over the whole of the filament.)

The species is described in B.Fl. iii, 260, in the following words:—

A shrub, attaining 10 feet, with a smooth bark (Oldfield). Leaves from broad-lanceolate and 4 to 5 inches long, to narrow-lanceolate and shorter, mostly mucronate-acute and often falcate, rigid, the veins rather numerous but oblique and anastomosing, very conspicuous in the narrow leaves, much less so in the larger ones, the intramarginal one usually distant from the edge. Peduncles axillary, very short, nearly terete, mostly 3-flowered. Peduncles short. Calyx-tube narrow-turbinate, 2½ to nearly 3 lines long, with four minute teeth, sometimes prominent, sometimes scarcely conspicuous. Operculum short, depressed hemispherical, very obtuse and rather thick. Stamens 2 to 3 lines long, distinctly arranged in four clusters or bundles alternating with the calyx-teeth; anthers very small, nearly globular, with distinct parallel cells. Fruit ovoid or oblong, usually ½ to nearly ¾ inch long, in some specimens (perhaps not perfect), contracted at the orifice, but usually cylindrical, the rim concave, not broad, the capsule slightly sunk, usually 3-celled.

It is not dealt with by Mueller in his “Eucalyptographia.”

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I published the following note concerning it in 1911:—

A white gum, a smooth-barked straggling tree of 20 feet, with a diameter of 9 inches and very little scaly bark. As a rule seen as a bush. Wood pale chocolate brown towards the heart, but most of it white. Branchlets brown, giving the tree a brownish cast. Juvenile leaves lanceolar, rarely broad. Leaves pale-green, glaucous, equally green on both sides. Leaves in opposite stage to top of tree. It is the exception for them to be alternate. Fruits yellowish, quadrangular. I only came across it at Minginew, where it is rare. (Journ. W.A. Nat. Hist. Soc., Vol. III.)


The type comes from sandy plains and limestone hills near the Murchison River, Western Australia. It was for many years believed to be confined to that State, but I show it to also occur in South Australia and the Northern Territory. It is a species of dry country. Drummond had previously collected it, under No. 69 (6th Collection).

The following two specimens were received from Mueller, and are doubtless typical:—

(a) Shrubby, 6–8 feet. Sand plain north of Mount Curious, Murchison River (Augustus Oldfield).

(b) “Eucalyptus `Myallie' of the aborigines (evidently the same as `Mallalie' in the original description), from Pindaryah, north of Murchison” (Augustus Oldfield).

E. eudesmioides has been traced by the writer in 1877 from the Arrowsmith River to near Shark's Bay over sand and limestone ground” (Mueller, in “Eucalyptographia”). Found near Freycinet Harbour (Mueller, Shark Bay Report).

Following are additional localities:—

“Mallee, 10–12 feet high.” Sand plains between Mogumber and Gillingarra (W. V. Fitzgerald). In another label on specimens from the same locality he says, “Sandy hillsides; stems smooth-barked.”

Carnamah, Midland Railway line (Dr. A. Morrison).

Mt. Muggawah, Yandanooka, Arrowsmith River district (Dr. A. Morrison).

Small tree of 20–25 feet, Mingenew (W. V. Fitzgerald, J.H.M.). Shrub of 1½–3 metres, or small tree, young branches purplish, leaves glaucous. North of Mingenew (Dr. L. Diels, No. 3035).

The above localities are all at no great distance from the west coast; the following take a leap into the dry country easterly and we have no intermediate records.

“The fine growth of Eucalyptus eudesmioides (Desert Gum) extending for over 100 miles gave the country a very pleasing aspect.” Vicinity of Queen Victoria Spring.

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(Journal Elder Expl. Exped., p. 7). The Spring is in 30° 30' south latitude, and 123° 45' east longitude, north-east of Kalgoorlie. We have other specimens collected by the same expedition, as follows:—

(a) Camp 45, Victoria Desert (R. Helms, Elder Exploring Expedition, 8th September, 1891).

(b) Victoria Desert (R. Helms, Elder Exploring Expedition, 2nd September, 1891), (labelled E. Todtiana by a slip of the pen). The following note refers to these specimens:—W.A., near Barrow Range, Victoria Desert (C. 45 and 60), “Desert Gum, 30–45 feet.” (Proc. Roy. Soc. S.A., xvi, 358). Barrow Range is approximately 26° south latitude, and 127° 20' east longitude.

We are now approaching South Australia and the Northern Territory.

South Australia.

E. eudesmioides is shown in the map of the Elder Exploring Expedition over large areas in South Australia, and although I have not seen a South Australian specimen, I readily agree that it is found in that State, since it has been found in extra-tropical Western Australia adjacent to the South Australian border, and also in the Northern Territory not far from the South Australian boundary.

Mueller and Tate (Proc. Roy. Soc. S.A., xvi, 358) record a “variety with ovate leaves, 25 miles S.S.W. of Mt. Watson.” I have not seen the specimen and it would be desirable to re-examine it.

Northern Territory.

In the desert country (from the George Gill Range to Ayers Rock and Mt. Olga), at p. 81 of the Horn Expedition Narrative, Prof. Baldwin Spencer says, “All the morning we were traversing low sandhills, on many of which grew a fine sandhill gum, E. eudesmioides, which reached a height of 50 to 80 feet. The trunk is silver-grey in colour and very shiny, except the butt, where it is covered with a paper-like bark which peels off in long, yellow-brown scales. The grey-green foliage usually forms a kind of umbrella shaped mass, and it is somewhat strange to find a big tree like this right out amongst the waterless sandhills.”

Tanami Goldfield is situated in North-western Central Australia in latitude 19° 58' and east longitude 129° 45' (approx. about 48½ miles east of the boundary between Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It is 696 miles (550 by track and 146 by railway) from Darwin, or 400 miles (by track via Mucka) from the Victoria River depôt.

In Mr. Lionel C. E. Gee's “General Report on Tanami Goldfield and district” (S.A. Parliamentary Paper, 1911)—from Tanami to Mucka on the Victoria River, Desert Gums (probably E. eudesmioides) were encountered (see p. 6 of Report).

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1. With E. tetragona F.v.M.

“Very near E. tetragona in characters, but the narrow leaves, small flowers and narrow fruits give it a very different aspect.” (B.Fl. iii, 260.)

“The differences between E. tetragona and E. eudesmioides … consist in the much narrower leaves of E. eudesmioides, the absence of the waxy-powdery whiteness, less or not compressed flower-stalks, smaller flowers and fruits, prevailing ternary number of fruit-valves … A large fruited form of this plant from Esperance Bay, referred to E. tetragona in the `Flora Australiensis' seems to mediate the transit from E. tetragona to E. eudesmioides; it is without whitish bloom, and may exhibit the aged state of the species.” (“Eucalyptographia.”)

No form, large-fruited or other, from Esperance Bay, is referred to E. tetragona in the “Flora Australiensis.” Mueller is referring to a specimen in his own herbarium, as follows:—His label is “Eucalyptus tetragona F.M. (Eudesmia), Esperance Bay. Transit to E. eudesmioides. Flower stalks compressed.”

Diels and Pritzel refer to it in the following passages:—

E. tetragona F.v.M. We have seen a form with narrower lanceolate-elliptical leaves and less pruinose, collected in the eastern Eyre district near Israelite Bay (A. G. Brooks) in the Melbourne herb. This specimen seems analogous to the form, mentioned by Mueller in Eucalyptographia, as showing transit to E. eudesmioides, found near Esperance Bay. Still it seems to have much more affinity to E. tetragona than E. eudesmioides.” (Diels and Pritzel in Engler Jahrb., xxxv, 444.)

This Esperance Bay specimen (E. tetragona, in my view), is referred to again by Dr. Diels in the following passage (translation):—

The species (E. tetragona) belongs from its fruits and flowers to the very small group of Eudesmieæ (Bentham Fl. Austr. iii, 258) and is there doubtlessly nearly related to E. eudesmioides F.v.M. (fig. 27). Nothing is more expressive of the close relationship of the two species than the different limits different authors draw to the forms of the two species. According to F. v. Mueller (Eucalyptographia) E. eudesmioides is distinguished by the alternate, much smaller leaves, the warting of the white waxy bloom, less or not at all flattened pedicels, and smaller flowers and fruits. A large-fruited form from Esperance Bay—so continues F. v. Mueller—which is placed by Bentham (B.Fl.) with E. tetragona, seems to represent a transition of the two; it has no white bloom and is perhaps the grown-up state of the species. With this F. v. Mueller admits that a form regarded by him as E. eudesmioides is perhaps the fully matured state of E. tetragona. I can only agree with this view after examining a specimen similar to the form in question collected by Miss Brooke at Israelite Bay. This plant is from the fruit entirely E. tetragona, but the leaves are partly alternate, smaller, without bloom, and the flowers are smaller, therefore a clear transition to E. eudesmioides, whose type, collected about 900 km. more northerly, is figured at fig. 27d. (“Jugendformen und Blutenreife,” p. 94.)

This Esperance Bay specimen is figured at figs. 4a-d, Plate 188; see the description of the Plate given at page 183, where I express the opinion that it is E. tetragona, with fruits not quite ripe. It may be looked upon as starved. At the same time, I agree that it seems to show characters intermediate between E. tetragona and E. eudesmioides. Further, we must remember that it comes from country where E. tetragona is abundant, and E. eudesmioides absent, the latter being found in more northerly, much drier, country.

The chief differences between the two species are tabulated by me at page 137, Part XLV.