― 33 ―

CCXXIX. E. peltata Bentham.

In B.Fl. iii, 254 (1866).

FOLLOWING is the original description:—

A tree with a dark, shining, brittle, flaky, but persistent bark (F. Mueller).

Leaves from nearly orbicular to oblong-ovate, obtuse, rather large, peltately inserted on the petiole above their base, rusty-scabrous or glabrous or somewhat glaucous, with diverging but not close veins.

Flowers rather large, nearly sessile in the umbels, which are arranged in oblong (or corymbose) terminal panicles, but not seen expanded.

Calyx-tube obconical in the bud, about 3 lines long, smooth and shining.

Operculum much shorter, obtusely conical or hemispherical.

Anthers ovate-oblong, with parallel cells.

Fruit urceolate-globose, about 4 lines diameter, contracted above the deeply-sunk capsule, the rim thin, seeds (which I have not seen) smooth and not winged according to F. Mueller.

It was figured and further described by Mueller in the “Eucalyptographia.”

A small or middle sized tree, with a straight trunk seldom above 15 feet long or more than 18 inches in diameter, with a spreading rather dense top (Johnson); foliage drooping, the greatest height of the whole tree about 30 feet (Tenison-Woods). Bark everywhere (all over the tree) persistent, lamellar, very brittle, somewhat shining and brownish or pale-yellowish, the colour of the bark having originated the curious vernacular of Yellow-jacket for this tree. (“Eucalyptographia.”)

In 1908, when I received a full suite of specimens from the Emerald District, misled by Bentham's description of the peltate juvenile leaves as mature ones, I thought it might be new, and carefully described it, but did not publish it.

Following is the description of the juvenile leaves, made at the time:—

Broadly lanceolate to orbicular, peltate (up to 10–15 cm. long and 3·5–4 cm. broad being common dimensions), symmetrical, the slightly flattened glaucous branchlets and the midribs sparsely besprinkled with weak brown hairs, the tips of the branchlets densely hairy. Equally green on both sides, or but slightly paler on the under side, thin, petiolate, midrib distinct and slightly channelled, lateral veins irregularly curved, rather distant from each other, passing through a more parallel stage until they become feather-veined in the adult stage; the intramarginal vein at a considerable distance from the edge. Mature leaves of the ordinary lanceolate shape.

I have since found that the peltate condition of leaves in Eucalyptus is more common than was at one time supposed, but a full discussion of this character may well be deferred until the Morphology portion of this work is reached.

  ― 34 ―

Following is an excellent account of the tree:—

Eucalyptus peltata is known around Alma-den as Yellow Jack, from the yellowish colour of the scaly bark, which is of much the same texture as that of the Bloodwood group, though perhaps a little more flaky. This rough scaly bark extends to the branchlets, the tips of which are angular, glabrous and yellowish. The timber is pale towards the outside of the tree, but dark brown near the centre. The fruits are slightly urceolate and the sessile buds are angular in dried specimens. The only peltate leaves seen were amongst the ovate, scabrous, “sucker” foliage. The adult leaves examined are glabrous and lanceolate, with a yellowish midrib, and are 5 to 6 inches long and one-quarter of an inch to 1 inch broad. The “sucker” stems are hispid. (R. H. Cambage in Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlix, 407, 1915.)


  • 1. E. melissiodora F.v.M. in Journ. Linn. Soc. iii, 95 (1859), but not of Lindley.
  • 2. E. Leichhardtii Bailey.
  • 3. E. eximia Schauer, var. Leichhardtii Ewart.

1. E. melissiodora F.v.M. in Journ. Linn. Soc. iii, 95 (1859).

Following is a translation of the original:—

A tree, branchlets compressed-tetragonal, rough, leaves opposite or sub-opposite, ovate or sub-cordate, rarely oblong-lanceolate, petiolate and scabrous above the rounded somewhat inflexed base, opaque, covered with translucent dots, penniveined reticulately veined, peripheral vein unequally distant from the margin, umbels paniculate, 6–7 flowered, peduncles scabrous, angled and longer than the calyx-tube, buds ovate, smooth, ecostate shortly pedicellate, the calyx-tube half as long again as the interior conical-hemispherical operculum, the outer operculum imperfect, fruits campanulate, three-celled, smooth at the vertex, valves included, seeds smooth, winged. Habitat in the porphyritic mountains of Newcastle Range. Flowered October and November. A small or medium sized tree, trunk straight, bark adhering all over, shining with brittle dirty yellow flakes. Branchlets and peduncles grown over with an ash-coloured and rusty roughness. Leaves with a petiole ½–1 inch long, semiterete, for the most part, adhering above the base, rarely to the margin, generally 2–3 inches long, 1½–2½ inches broad, in the abnormal specimen collected by Mitchellnote up to 5 inches long and 1 inch only broad, sometimes acute, sometimes obtuse or rather emarginate. Calyx-tube shining obconical, semi-ovate, 2–3 lines long narrowed into a very short pedicel. Operculum double, the exterior one chestnut brown, slowly coming away in pieces, grown to the interior one; the interior one 1½ lines long. Fruit about 4 lines long, perfectly campanulate, green, somewhat smooth at the vertex, valves inserted above the middle of the tube. Seeds brown, shining. The species is remarkable for the double operculum.

Mueller (“Eucalyptographia” under E. peltata) concurs in Bentham's opinion that E. melissiodora, “might merely constitute the young state of E. citriodora, and this has been confirmed through local observation by Dr. E. Wuth, whose attention I directed to this subject.” He goes on to point out that, in dealing with E. maculata in “Eucalyptographia,” he added E. peltata as a synonym by a slip of the pen.

  ― 35 ―

2. E. Leichhardtii Bailey, in Queensland Agric. Journ. xvi, 493 (May, 1906).

The original description is as follows:—

“Yellow Jack” or “Yellow Jacket.” A tree of small size, the timber not considered durable. Bark on the trunk thick, spongy, and somewhat lamellar; colour a light yellowish-brown; deciduous on the smaller branches. Leaves 3 to 6 inches long, falcate-lanceolate, the apex often elongated and filiform, the base somewhat oblique, tapering to a petiole of about 1 inch; transverse parallel veins very numerous, but not very distinct owing to the coriaceous texture of the leaf, the intramarginal one rather distant from the edge. Flowers several together, nearly or quite sessile, in heads which are arranged on thickish (more or less angular) branches of a terminal panicle from 4 to 8 inches long. Calyx-tube thick, angular-rugose, much tapering towards the base in the flower, about 4 lines long and 3 lines broad at the top. Operculum broadly conical or shortly acuminate, considerably shorter than the calyx-tube, usually in the fresh state of a glossy-purple, texture thin and tough; from the centre a descending tube is formed by the petaloid portion or inner membrane which encloses the summit of the style and stigma before the flower expands, similar to what Mueller points out as occurring in E. eximia. Stamens 3 to 4 lines long; anthers oblong; cells parallel, opening longitudinally. Ovary flat-topped. Fruit urceolate, about 6 lines long, rim rather thin; capsule deeply sunk, 3-celled. Seeds oblong, about 3 lines long, 1½ lines broad, smooth, flat and glossy-brown.

Hab.:—Near Alice, Central Railway (received from Mr. Wm. Pagan, Chief Engineer for Railways).

The above species seems only to have once previously been brought under notice, and then by Baron Mueller when describing E. eximia, in his grand work, “The Eucalyptographia,” where he says: “Imperfect specimens, collected by Dr. Leichhardt on Dogwood Creek, in Queensland, and designated `Rusty Gum-tree,' seem referable to E. eximia.”

3. In a paper in Vict. Nat., p. 56 (July, 1907), Prof. Ewart deals with E. Leichhardtii, which he reduces to E. eximia Schauer, var. Leichhardtii Bailey [this should be var. Leichhardtii Ewart, according to a letter from Prof. Ewart.—J.H.M.], and incidentally refers to the fact that Mueller has referred similar specimens, presumably including “imperfect specimens, collected by Dr. Leichhardt on Dogwood Creek in Queensland, and designated `Rusty Gum-tree,' seem referable to E. eximia.” (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. eximia.)

“A point apparently overlooked by Bailey is that the internal ledge just within the rim is nearly horizontal, instead of sloping inwards and downwards as in E. eximia type, so that the outer chamber of the fruit is saucer-shaped instead of cup-shaped. In this respect, as well as in the size of the fruit, the capsules show an approach to E. maculata, but in the bark, and in other features, the two trees differ considerably.” (Ewart, loc. cit.)


The type came from Newcastle Range, Queensland, which is east of the Etheridge and the Gilbert, in Northern Queensland, and of the township of Georgetown. It was collected by Mueller during Gregory's Northern Territory Expedition of 1856.

  ― 36 ―

In the “Eucalyptographia,” Mueller extends the localities as follows: “On porphyritic mountains at the sources of the Burdekin, Lynd, and Gilbert Rivers (Mueller); on granite hills near Charters Towers, on auriferous formation (Tenison-Woods); at Ravenswood, near the Burdekin River (S. Johnson).”

These are the most northerly localities (see also some mentioned by Leichhardt for “Rusty Gum” below). Then we have a group of localities around Emerald, Central Railway, while the most southerly locality is that of Leichhardt, on Dogwood Creek, near Dulacca Railway Station. Leichhardt's specimens are fragmentary, but I have no doubt as to their identity.

It will thus be seen that E. peltata has a very extensive range in Queensland, occurring in rather dry situations, and on somewhat sterile soil.

I have a specimen from the Melbourne Herbarium, “E. peltata Benth., E. mellissiodora Lindl. Newcastle Range (Mueller).” This is Mueller's label. It has a nearly orbicular leaf, a sucker leaf, as figured in “Eucalyptographia.”

Cape River (Stephen Johnson) in Herb. Melb. Mueller also quotes Charters Towers and Ravenswood, which are in about the same latitude. (Ravenswood is by Rev. J. E. Tenison-Woods.)

“Yellow Jack.” “Rough, scaly yellow bark to branches, wood pale, light brown centre. 30–40 feet high. On granite at 1,600 feet.” Alma-den (R. H. Cambage, Nos. 3884, 3885).

“This species occurs plentifully between Einasleigh and Wirra Wirra, near Forsayth. Exactly similar trees, as regards appearance and habit, were seen from the train in the Desert near Jericho, to the east of Barcaldine, but as these trees were not examined, their identification is doubtful, though it is understood they are known as Eucalyptus Leichhardtii Bailey.” (R. H. Cambage in Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlix, 407, 1915.)

All the above localities are in the same general area, viz., the southern part of Cape York Peninsula, and east of the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria. This general area includes the localities for the species as quoted by Mueller in the “Eucalyptographia.”

Going south, we have a Bloodwood, Washpool Creek, Eidsvold (sent by Dr. T. L. Bancroft as E. eximia).

Coming further south, we have “Yellow Jack,” Chinchilla State Forest. (Forest Ranger George Singleton, C. T. White's No. 12.) This is on the South-Western line. Note also Leichhardt's locality of Dogwood Creek, near the modern Dulacca. See below, p. 37.

Further north still, we have a group of localities on the Central Railway.

“Yellow Jacket,” Desert Country, west of Emerald (R. Simmonds). From the same locality Mr. J. L. Boorman reports, “Tree of medium size (trunks 18 inches to 2 feet in diameter being common), bark of a Bloodwood character, and of a light or yellow colour.”

  ― 37 ―

“Yellow Jacket. Medium-sized trees of 30–40 feet. Stems of 1–4 feet in diameter, but never more than 15 feet or so of milling timber, it being generally difficult to obtain more than posts and rails, its principal use. Wood dark brown in centre, pale yellow sapwood. Flaky bark, from base of stem up to branches, having a yellowish appearance.” Beta (J. L. Boorman).

Still a little further, on the same line, viz., at 328 miles from Rockhampton, we have a specimen of the type of E. Leichhardtii, which came from Alice, Central Railway (W. Pagan, through F. M. Bailey).

In considering the range of the species, it is necessary to study the notes on Leichhardt's Rusty Gum, which follow.

The Rusty Gum of Leichhardt:

Not a mile further on [from his Acacia Creek] we came on a second creek, with running water, which from the number of Dogwood shrubs (Jacksonia), in the full glory of their golden blossoms, I called Dogwood Creek. The creek came from north and north-east, and flowed to the south-west to join the Condamine. The rock of Dogwood Creek is a fine-grained porous Psammite (clayey sandstone) with veins and nodules of iron, like that of Hodgson's Creek. A new gum-tree, with a rusty-coloured scaly bark, the texture of which, as well as the seed-vessel and the leaf, resembled Bloodwood, but specifically different…(Leichhardt's “Overland Expedition to Port Essington,” p. 20.)

These are the specimens of Leichhardt referred to by Mueller in the “Eucalyptographia,” under E. eximia, as probably referable to that species, but they belong to E. peltata. Dogwood Creek is a little to the south of Dulacca Railway Station on the Western Railway.

If we peruse Leichhardt's work we find other references to Rusty Gum. Perhaps the following are the whole of them.

At the junction of the Suttor and Cape Rivers, he says, “The country back from the river is formed by flats alternating with undulations, and is lightly timbered with Silver-leaved Ironbark, Rusty Gum, Moreton Bay Ash and Water-box. The trees are generally stunted and unfit for building …” (p. 195).

At p. 208, approximate latitude 20° 8' 26?, which would bring us to, say, the Charters Towers group of localities, “The ridges were covered with Rusty Gum and Narrow-leaved Ironbark.”

Then we have, “A new Eucalyptus with a glaucous suborbicular subcordate leaf, and the bark of the Rusty Gum; a stunted or middle-sized tree, which grew in great abundance on the ranges” (p. 230). Mr. Cambage tells me that the locality referred to is on the Burdekin River, below Grey Creek, but above the Perry and Clarke Rivers. Roughly 100 miles north-west of Charters Towers, or 100 miles south-east of Einasleigh, or 50 miles south-west of Stone River. The suborbicular, subcordate leaves may, of course, refer to peltate leaves, which are more abundant on some trees than on others. On the other hand, Leichhardt calls it a “new Eucalyptus,” and he therefore probably thought it different from the trees he usually calls Rusty Gum. On the other hand, it may represent trees with an inordinate proportion of juvenile leaves. The species of Leichhardt's, p. 230, is therefore doubtful.

  ― 38 ―

At p. 304, “We travelled … over a succession of plains separated by belts of forest, consisting of Bloodwood, Box, Apple Gum, and Rusty Gum.” This was near the Lynd River.

At p. 355, “Some of the ridges were openly timbered with a rather stunted White Gum tree, and were well grassed, but the grass was wiry and stiff. At the end of our stage, about 16 miles distant from our last camp, we crossed some Rusty Gum forest …”

At p. 356, “In a patch of Rusty Gum forest we found Acacia equisetifolia and the dwarf Grevillea of the Upper Lynd in blossom. The thyrsi of scarlet flowers of the latter were particularly beautiful.” Here they were a little south of the Albert River of Captain Lort Stokes.


1. With E. latifolia F.v.M.

Possibly a variety or state of some species allied to E. latifolia without the peltate leaves. The specimens are very imperfect. (B.Fl. iii, 254.)

In many of its characteristics, especially the form of its fruits, E. peltata approaches to E. latifolia, but the latter is smooth-barked, its leaves are partly almost opposite and always attenuated, with an acute base into their stalk, the lateral veins less prominent, the reticulation of the veinlets also less visible, while the marginal vein is almost confluent with the edge of the leaves, the stalklets of the flowers are of conspicuous length, the lid is single and separates by a less regularly marked dehiscence, and the brownish roughness of the branchlets and foliage is absent, in which latter respects an approach of E. peltata to E. ferruginea, E. aspera, E. setosa, and E. clavigera is established. (“Eucalyptographia” under E. peltata.)

The mistake that E. peltata has peltate leaves in the full-grown state also misled L. Diels, who, in his “Jugendformen und Blutenreife,” says that, except in these (assumed) adult leaves, “otherwise it shows in many characters, especially in the very important shape of the fruit, great approach to E. latifolia. It is more than probable that the two species are closely connected; indeed, also in their geographical distribution they belong to the same region, i.e., North-eastern Australia. Unfortunately the ontogeny of E. latifolia is not perfectly known. I could nowhere find a description of the juvenile leaves.”

For E. latifolia, see Plate 168, Part XLI, where it will be seen that the two species are not closely allied. The juvenile leaves of E. latifolia are larger, glabrous, and not peltate. The mature leaves are broad. The inflorescence is very different. The flowers are more numerous and, like the fruits, have comparatively long pedicels. The fruits are, for the most part, larger, and have thicker walls; while after the falling of the outer strips of bark the inner bark is yellowish. The bark is not yellowish as a whole, and the timber is red. E. peltata is a Queensland species, while E. latifolia belongs to the Northern Territory.

  ― 39 ―

2 and 3. With E. miniata A. Cunn., and E. phœnicea F.v.M.

E. peltata is, however, well marked, as noticed by myself in 1856 on the sources of the south-eastern rivers of Carpentaria, by the remarkable texture and structure of the bark, in which respect it bears resemblance only to E. phœnicea and E. miniata, constituting with them the section of Lepidophloiæ in the cortical system. (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. peltata.)

For E. miniata and E. phœnicea see Plate 96, Part XXII, with the juvenile leaves of the former described at p. 37. The juvenile leaves of E. miniata are not petiolate; those of E. phœnicea are not known. The buds and fruits are very different from those of E. peltata, those of E. miniata being very large and ribbed, the ribbing being less marked in E. phœnicea. There are other differences that comparison of the figures will readily disclose. The filaments of E. miniata and E. phœnicea are orange to scarlet, while the barks are more lamellar and friable.

4. With E. Torelliana F.v.M.

Perhaps E. peltata will require to be placed nearest to E. Torelliana, álthough the latter stands on record as one of the tallest forest trees near Rockingham Bay, with a “bark smooth as glass”; moreover, the hairiness of its branchlets and leaf-stalks is more conspicuous, all its leaves are of completely basal insertion and evidently paler beneath, therefore their stomata are not isogenous, but (as tabulated before) heterogeneous; the flowers and fruits may also prove different, the former being only as yet known in an unexpanded state and the latter having never yet been collected at all.

For E. Torelliana see Part XXXIX, Plate 160. It will be at once seen that the two species have much in common—the broad-leaved, hirsute, peltate juvenile leaves, succeeded by narrow-lanceolate leaves, the venation being less fine and feather-like in E. peltata. The difference in the aspect of the trees has already been referred to, the size, bark, and timber being all dissimilar. The buds are different, but the markedly urceolate fruits of E. Torelliana are more markedly so. The latter species is a coastal species with high rainfall. The other is a comparatively dry-country species.