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CCLXXVIII. E. drepanophylla F.v.M.

Ex Bentham in B.Fl. iii, 221 (1866).

FOLLOWING is the original description:—

A tree, usually low and stunted, the bark dark-grey and ribbed (Dallachy).

Leaves long-lanceolate, often exceeding 6 inches and usually falcate, acuminate, with numerous fine, parallel, and very diverging veins, often scarcely conspicuous, the intra-marginal one close to or very near the edge.

Umbels three to six-flowered, usually three to four together in short axillary or terminal panicles or the lower ones solitary, the peduncles short and terete, or nearly so. Calyx-tube obconical, nearly 2 lines long, tapering into a short, thick pedicel.

Operculum conical or obtuse, usually about as long as the calyx-tube.

Stamens about 2 lines long, inflected in the bud; anthers very small, nearly globular, with distinct parallel cells.

Fruit subglobose-truncate, about 4 lines diameter, slightly contracted at the orifice, the rim rather thin, the capsule somewhat sunk, but convex, so that the valves often slightly protrude.

E. drepanophylla is referred to as a synonym of E. leptophleba F.v.M. in Part X of the present work, p. 332, following Mueller. At p. 333 I invited the attention of Queensland botanists to this little known species. Owing to the zeal of Dr. T. L. Bancroft, then of Stannary Hills, north Queensland, and now of Eidsvold, I was able to clear up the identity of E. leptophleba as apart from E. drepanophylla. See Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlvii, 82, 83, and also the present work. I am also under obligations to Mr. C. T. White, Government Botanist, of Queensland, in this enquiry.

Further references to E. drepanophylla will be found under “Range,” Part X, p. 333, and “Affinities,” p. 334.

I am not quite certain that the differences between E. drepanophylla and E. crebra are sufficient to justify the retention of the former as a species, but on the whole think that it is probable. I trust that Queenslanders will give attention to the species.

It will be observed that certain old Ironbark specimens referred to E. drepanophylla by Mueller himself (and Bentham) are destitute of fruit, and Dallachy expressly mentions that his Edgecombe Range specimens had no fruit. At the same time, Bentham described the fruit as “sub-globose truncate, about 4 lines diameter, slightly contracted at the orifice, the rim rather thin, the capsule somewhat sunk, but convex, so that the values often slightly protrude.”

It will be observed that at figs. 3d, 4b, 4c, Plate 200, I have taken cognizance of fruiting specimens which probably come near the type.

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The B.Fl., iii, 221, localities for E. drepanophylla will be found referred to at Part X, p. 333. So far as I know, E. drepanophylla is confined to Queensland, and its recorded localities are from the coast and coastal ranges from Maryborough to Cairns, but it may be confidently predicted it will be found north, south and west of the places indicated. The following specimens belong, in my view, to E. drepanophylla. Nos. 1–3 are from the Port Denison district, and are probably all typical:—

1. “Ironbark, the flowers white and sweet-scented; this is a very low (high—a correction by Dallachy) stunted tree in this country. Edgecombe, 15th August, 1863. No fruit.” (Copy of Dallachy's label endorsed by Mueller “Eucalyptus drepanophylla Ferd. Mueller.” This specimen has a second “Botanical Museum of Melbourne” label, in Mueller's handwriting, “Eucalyptus drepanophylla F.M., Port Denison,” and this was seen by Bentham. It is undoubtedly the type.

2. Port Denison (Fitzalan). Specimen marked “Eucalyptus drepanophylla” by Mueller. Buds and anthers of this were figured as E. leptophleba, Pl. 48, fig. 4. (Mueller has a note:—“The tree from Port Denison, alluded to under E. Bowmani by Bentham in B.Fl., iii, 220, belongs to E. drepanophylla.” (Eucalyptogrophia, under E. Baileyana.)

3. “Eucalyptus drepanophylla Ferd. Mueller. Burdekin Expedition. Euc. crebra var.” (Copy of a label in Mueller's handwriting, seen by Bentham.)

Mount Elliott (south-west of Bowling Green Bay) in flower only (Fitzalan); (E. drepanophylla, so labelled by Mueller). This locality is a little north of Bowen.

Ironbark, Charters Towers (H. B. Walker, 1903). These specimens, in mature leaf, buds and flowers, with a piece of bark, appear to be E. drepanophylla. This locality is only a few miles inland from Bowen, home of the type.

Cleveland Bay (Townsville), in bud, pale-coloured operculum (S. (?)' (Stephen Johnson, 1876); (labelled E. drepanophylla by Mueller). “Narrow-leaved Ironbark,” Reid River, via Townsville. (Nicholas Daley and G. R. Skelton, through Dr. J. Shirley.)

Near Atherton, back of Cairns (District Forester H. W. Mocatta).

Stannary Hills, near Irvinebank (Dr. T. L. Bancroft, 17th March, 1901, and later dates. In June, 1909, Dr. Bancroft writes: “With rough bark, up to 100 feet high and 2 feet in diameter; timber red.” He informs me that the late Mr. F. M. Bailey named it E. crebra. This is the most northerly locality known to me.

Now let us go south from Bowen, the type locality, and we have:—

“North Coast,” R.Br., 1802–5, not in fruit, pale-coloured operculum; (probably either Keppel Bay or Shoalwater Bay, as quoted in B.Fl., iii, 221, under E. drepanophylla).

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Mullet Creek, between Bundaberg and Gladstone, North Coast Railway (Chief Engineer for Railways, through C. T. White).

The common Ironbark of the district, medium to large-sized trees, 30–60 feet high, fairly plentiful. Mount Perry (J. L. Boorman).

Parish Boondooma, Burnett district (S. J. Higgins, through C. T. White, No. 11). “Narrow-leaf Ironbark.” “A form of E. crebra, with Weeping Willow habit. A really pretty tree; I have often wondered if it is a hybrid.” Eidsvold, Upper Burnett River (Dr. T. L. Bancroft.) These specimens, varying somewhat in width and texture of leaf, show how difficult it is to separate E. crebra and E. drepanophylla. Both of these localities are a little west of Maryborough, and form our most southerly records at present.


1. With E. crebra F.v.M.

E. drepanophylla differs from E. crebra chiefly in the large flowers and in the larger, harder, and more globular fruit. … It is not impossible, however, that … E. drepanophylla … and crebra, all of them Ironbarks, may be but forms of one species.” (B.Fl., iii, 221.)

E. drepanophylla, which may be perhaps a mere variety of the imperfectly known E. leptophleba, is still nearer to E. siderophloia than to E. crebra; (and then follows differences from E. siderophloia). (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. siderophloia).

E. drepanophylla, which was advanced with much hesitation as a species (“Flora Australiensis,” iii, 221), seems mainly to differ in more stunted habit, larger and stiffer leaves of a paler hue, larger flowers and fruits and, perhaps, different bark. This species or variety, for the elucidation of which further field studies are needed, extends northward to the Palmer River (Th. Gulliver), Cape Sidmouth (C. Moore), and Trinity Bay (Walter Hill), and, on the authority of Bentham, even to the north-west coast of Australia (Cunningham).” (Ib., under E. crebra).

E. drepanophylla, which comes very near to E. leptophleba and E. crebra, belongs to the series of Ironbark trees (with, therefore, furrowed and dark-coloured bark), has usually narrower leaves of less straightness and of lighter green, with very subtle much diverging and also more copious veins, a shorter lid, anther-cells slit in their whole length and proportionately shorter fruits. To E. drepanophylla verges Bentham's variety parviflora (“Flora Australiensis,” iii, 217) mentioned doubtfully under E. hemiphloia; it is according to Fitzalan's note an Ironbark Tree; the anthers, however, seen not to open with regular slits.” (Ib., under E. hemiphloia).

It seems to me that important differences between E. crebra and E. drepanophylla lie in the broader juvenile leaves of the latter and in the shape of the anthers.

2. With E. leptophleba F.v.M.

This is dealt with under E. leptopleba, see p. 267.