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E. Woollsiana R. T. Baker.

In Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxv, 684, 1900, with Plate XLIII. (No serial number is given, as I do not admit E. Woollsiana as a valid species, but a synonym of E. odorata Behr and Schlecht., at least in part.)

FOLLOWING is the original description:—

A large tree up to 80 feet high, and more than 3 feet in diameter. Bark persistent half-way or more than half-way up the trunk; smooth, chiefly of a rich brown colour.

Sucker leaves lanceolate, alternate; 2–3 inches long, ½–¾ inch broad. Mature leaves under 6 inches long, on a petiole less than ½ inch; narrow-lanceolate, tapering to a fine recurved point, mostly of a thin texture, of a light yellowish-green, sometimes slightly shining; venation obscured, impressed on the upper surface; lateral veins few, intramarginal vein removed from the edge.

Peduncles axillary, from 2–12 lines long. Flowers few. Calyx about 1 line in diameter, tapering into a short stalk. Operculum hemispherical, acuminate, and often shorter and more obtuse than shown in the plate. Ovary flat-topped. Stamens all fertile; anthers parallel; connective large and long, attached at base to the filaments.

Fruits small, 1 line in diameter, hemispherical to slightly pear-shaped; rim thin, slightly contracted, valves not exserted.

Timber.—Hard, close-grained, interlocked, heavy, durable timber of a brownish colour. Useful for bridge-decking, posts, railway sleepers, and general building purposes. It is in great request at the Cobar mines for shoring the roofs.

Let us endeavour to interpret Mr. Baker's views of his species based on his own descriptions and figures.

Illustrations.—Mr. Baker figures E. Woollsiana at Plate XLIII, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., vol. xxv, but gives no particulars as to locality of the specimen.

He figures the species in his and Mr. Smith's “Research on the Eucalypts,” and at Nos. 6 and 7 he adds very broad leaves to the details of his former plate.

In Journ. Roy. Soc. S.A., xl, 472, he states that Plate 29 (E. odorata) of J. E. Brown's “Forest Flora of South Australia” is E. Woollsiana. The illustrations are referred to with further detail in the descriptions of the illustrations at p. 223 of the present Part.

Let us consider the characters of E. Woollsiana, as stated by Mr. Baker, seriatim.

Habit.—“Large tree up to 80 feet high, and more than 3 feet in diameter.” (Original description.)

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Bark.—“Bark persistent half-way, or more than half-way, up the trunk; smooth, chiefly of a rich brown colour.” (Original description.) A specimen from Nyngan, W. Baeuerlen, given to me by Mr. Baker and labelled by him Mallee Box, E. Woollsiana, has bark whitish on the outside, thin, flaky, or with narrow furrows, Box-like (like E. odorata).

Timber.—“Hard, close-grained, interlocked, of a brownish colour.” (Original description.) I have received a specimen of a dark brown timber, bark rough, from Girilambone to Condobolin (W. Baeuerlen), sent by Mr. Baker as a specimen of the type.

Juvenile leaves.—“Lanceolate, alternate, 2–3 inches long, ½–¾ inch broad.” (Original description.) These were not figured when the type was figured, but are obviously those shown in Research plate, fig. 1. These can be matched by leaves of E. odorata, e.g., 16b, 16c, 19a, Plate 51, Part XI. They are less like those of E. bicolor, see fig. 5a, Plate 49, Part XI.

The introduction of the broad leaves (figs. 6 and 7, Research plate) introduces a new element. From the distance of the intramarginal vein to the edge, they are evidently juvenile or intermediate leaves. They are matched by the juvenile foliage of E. odorata, Wirrabarra Forest Reserve, South Australia (W. Gill, March, 1905), figured in 10b, Plate 51, Part XI, but there are larger leaves on the twigs.

Mature leaves.—“Under 6 inches long, on a petiole less than ½ inch, narrow lanceolate, tapering to a fine recurved point, mostly of a thin texture, of a light yellowish green; sometimes slightly shining; venation obscured, impressed on the upper surface; lateral veins few, intramarginal vein removed from the edge.” (Original description.)

What Mr. Baker intended by mature leaves is quite clear from fig. 1 (type plate), and also figures 2 and 3 (both type plate and Research, &c., plate). In fig. 5 (Research plate), he added a much longer, more petiolate leaf, which seems to me probably not different from 1–3. There is no difficulty in matching these with E. odorata.

Buds.—“Operculum hemispherical, acuminate, and often shorter and more obtuse than shown in the plate.” (Original description.) These buds, drawn too pointed, as stated, are figured at fig. 2 of the type plate, and fig. 2 of the Research plate. They are shown six in the head.

As shown in the figures, they a good deal resemble those of pointed buds of E. bicolor, see fig. 11a, Plate 49, Part XI. But I think the pointed buds are probably a mistake for E. Woollsiana, as hinted by Mr. Baker in the word “often.” I think the typical form of the species really has the “tip-cat” buds of E. odorata, as shown in J. E. Brown's figure of that species (fig. 3a, Plate 194) attributed by Mr. Baker to his E. Woollsiana, and which buds are the type form of E. odorata, see fig. 9b, Plate 51, Part XI.

Peduncles.—In the figures of the twig (leaves and flowers, not buds) (see fig. 3 of the type plate and fig. 3 of the Research, &c., plate), the peduncles are shown long and the pedicels distinct.

Fruits.—“Small, 1 line in diameter, hemispherical to slightly pear-shaped, rim thin, slightly contracted, valves not exserted.” (Original description.) They are

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figured in fig. 8, both of the type plate and the Research plate. It will be observed that they were not taken off the same tree as the buds (fig. 2), and the flowers (fig. 3), as they are nearly sessile, while the twigs of buds and flowers are pedicellate.

(Some of the very small fruits attributed to E. Woollsiana would probably have got larger, had not the growth been arrested from various causes.)

Under the heading of E. Woollsiana R. T. Baker, in Proc. Roy. Soc. S.A., xl, 479 (1916), Mr. Baker writes:—“There appears to have been some confusion in the past between this species and its congeners, for that figured by J. E. Brown, `Forest Flora of South Australia' under E. odorata is this species. Specimens were received which match the type (? which type) collected in New South Wales.”

This is a narrow-leaved species. I show a tracing of the essential parts of the drawing (J. E. Brown's Plate 29) at figures 3a, 3b. This is, as Brown, then Conservator of South Australian forests, says, the South Australian E. odorata, and although Brown was not a botanist he knew this common South Australian species well. Brown's drawing is, in my view also, E. odorata, and will be referred to under E. odorata at p. 223. In other words, Mr. Baker synonymises his E. Woollsiana with E. odorata, and I think he is right.

Vernaculars.—“Mallee Box.” This was applied by Mr. Baker to his species, and I have known such a name to be applied in more than one district. It shares the name, however, with E. odorata. The name means that the tree sometimes is as small as Mallee, and that it has a Box-like bark, but that individual trees may grow quite large, and shoot up above the prevailing dwarfer (Mallee) vegetation. I never knew it to be a true Mallee. This name has been in actual use for this and allied species at Nymagee, Mount Boppy, Yagobie (towards Queensland border), Inglewood (South Queensland).

Vernaculars are often applied in ignorance, or at all events, without uniformity.

“Black Box” is a name less in use for this species, and most of the cases in which I have heard it used have been owing to confusion with E. odorata. At the same time, it has been applied to E. Woollsiana (so far as it was supposed to be recognised), and Mr. R. H. Cambage explains it as follows in 1900:—

“The tree which is best known in the western district as White Box is E. albens (E. hemiphloia var. albens), with pale bark and glaucous leaves, but its habitat is under the western fringe of the high mountain spurs running from the Great Dividing Range, avoiding the cold country, and extending westward along slight undulations to the low plain country proper. Here it ceases, but is met and overlapped by E. Woollsiana. All along, and near these points of contact, the latter is called Black Box, to distinguish it from E. albens. It is also a darker tree, having dark green and slightly glossy leaves. In times of drought sheep will eat the leaves of E. albens, especially after they have been cut a day or two, but they object to the leaves of E. Woollsiana.” (Cambage in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxv, 715, 1900.)

“Narrow-leaved Box.” In comparison with such a species as E. hemiphloia (vars. both albens and microcarpa) E. Woollsiana is undoubtedly narrow-leaved, but I think most of the references to the narrowness of the leaves really belong to E. Pilligaensis, see p. 210.

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It is unfortunate that a single specimen, and no other, has not been fixed as the type. The author of this species sins, in this respect, in very good company, but absence of definiteness of a type leads to the confusion we all desire to avoid.

Mr. Baker quotes the following localities:—Girilambone, Cobar, and Trangie (W. Baeuerlen); Nyngan and Murga (R. H. Cambage). (Original description.) These are all in western New South Wales.

It will be observed that no type locality is mentioned, neither is it stated, in the explanation of Plate XLIII, figuring E. Woollsiana (original description) where the specimens figured came from. I have received, in response to my request for types, specimens labelled by Mr. Baker, Condobolin and Girilambone to Condobolin.


Preliminary.—This tree is a half-barked “Box,” and allied in bark and timber to E. populifolia, E. albens, and other cognate Box-trees. [Of all the Box-trees described this species has probably the narrowest leaves]. … (These words in the square brackets are omitted from Research, &c., p. 132.)

The leaves have a shining surface, occasionally as pertains to E. populifolia F.v.M., or E. Behriana F.v.M. (Original description.)

1. With E. conica Deane and Maiden.

“It differs from E. conica Deane and Maiden, in height, bark, timber, oil and fruits. Although the two species are not easily separated on herbarium material, they are never confounded in the field.” (Original description.) References to E. conica are omitted from Research, &c., p. 132.

For E. conica see Part XIII, with Plate 60, and also p. 64 of Part XLII. See also Plate 219, Part LVIII of my “Forest Flora of New South Wales.” E. conica has broader juvenile leaves in contradistinction to the usually narrower ones of E. Woollsiana; the fruits also are very different in shape and size, while the anthers of the two species are very different.

2. With E. microtheca F.v.M.

“It differs from E. microtheca in the valves of the fruit not being exserted, in the colour of the wood, and in the bark and chemical constituents.” (Original description.)

For E. microtheca see Part XI, figs. 16–22, Plate 52. There are no close affinities; the timber of E. microtheca is red, and the fruits sharply different.

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3. With E. viridis R. T. Baker.

“The fruits are small, and somewhat approach in shape those of the Green Mallee, E. viridis Baker; but the bark, timber, and chemical constituents of the kino and oil differentiate it from that species.” (Original description.) (This passage is omitted from Research, &c., p. 133.)

“By the casual observer, it is sometimes confused with the large form of E. viridis, which is also in places called Mallee Box, but with this tree it has no field affinities.” (R. H. Cambage in Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxv, 714, 1900.)

For E. viridis (under the name E. acacioides), see figs. 9–12, Plate 52, Part XI. As a very general rule, this is a slender, graceful Mallee.

4. With E. bicolor A. Cunn. (E. pendula A. Cunn., see Part XI).

“.… from E. pendula A. Cunn., in the venation and shape of the leaves, the shape of the fruits and constituents of the oil, and particularly in its timber, and it has a more erect habit than this species.” (Original description.)

For E. bicolor see Part XI, with figs. 5–13 of Plate 49. I would be inclined to say that E. bicolor has a more pendulous habit than those trees which have been described as E. Woollsiana; it is a thick, rough-barked, pendulous, narrow-leaved species, while E. Woollsiana has a paler and less rugged bark; the colour of the timber of E. bicolor is a rich reddish brown.

5. With E. populifolia Hook.

E. populifolia has much wider leaves, but the bark of the species is very similar [but is not associated in any other respect with this species]. (These words in square brackets are omitted from Research, &c., p. 133.) Mr. W. Baeuerlen states `that it is usually associated with E. populifolia, the Green Mallee (E. viridis Baker), and the Grey Mallee (E. Morrisii Baker), on which account it is called `Mallee Box.' I have never seen it in Mallee form, and as a result of my enquiries it appears that it does not grow in that form.' ” (Original description.)

For E. populifolia see Part X, Plate 48. The two species are very dissimilar, the only approach (distant) being in the infrequent narrow-leaved form of E. populifolia, and in the small fruits, which are, however, different in shape.

6. With E. hemiphloia F.v.M.

“From E. hemiphloia it differs in the nature of its timber, oil, buds, and leaves. … Of described species it is most closely allied to E. hemiphloia and other `Boxes' in oil, kino, and botanical characters. (Original description.)

I agree that the closest affinity of certain specimens attributed to E. Woollsiana is to E. hemiphloia var. microcarpa, indeed that they cannot be separated. In this connection compare, for the former, the illustrations referred to at p. 223, with those of E. hemiphloia var. microcarpa at Plate 50, Part XI, figs. 7–17. In E. hemiphloia we have broad suckers and usually, almost invariably, coarser mature foliage; paniculate inflorescence, which often serves to separate it from its congeners; fruits usually larger and more ovoid. At the same time, in E. hemiphloia, through arrested growth and other causes, we may have very small fruits. Mr. Cambage was alive to that many years ago, for, in sending me twigs of E. hemiphloia var. microcarpa, from Mount

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McDonald, near Cowra, he sent twigs tied together with fruits varying in size from as small as ever seen in the figures of E. Woollsiana to as large as those seen in the variety of E. hemiphloia. The little bundle bore the label, “These three twigs are from the same branch.”

The differences between E. Woollsiana may be ascertained (if possible) by comparison of the figures, figs. 2b, 2c, Plate 194, of the specimens attributed by Mr. Baker to E. Woollsiana, and figs. 7–17, Plate 50, Part XI, of E. hemiphloia var. microcarpa. In addition, we must take cognisance of material distributed by Mr. Baker as co-types of his E. Woollsiana.

Speaking generally, it may be said that they gradually run into each other, and that there are times when it is difficult to separate them on herbarium material, especially if it be incomplete. The leaf characters do not appear to offer sufficient evidence to always discriminate between them, and the buds and fruits are subject to variation, both in shape and size, as already indicated. The suckers appear to be the strongest characters by which they can be separated, but everything depends on what we know as E. Woollsiana.