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CCXXIV. E. Foelscheana F.v.M.

In The Chemist and Druggist of Australasia, November, 1882.

A DWARF tree, or only of shrubby growth; branchlets robust, not angular; leaves scattered or exceptionally opposite, on rather short stalks, ovate or verging into a roundish form, sometimes very large, always of firm consistence, blunt or at the summit slightly pointed, greyish-green on both sides, not much paler beneath; their primary veins very divergent or almost horizontally spreading, numerous and thus closely approximated, but subtle and therefore not prominent; the circumferential vein contiguous to the margin of the leaf; oil-dots concealed or obliterated; umbels four to six-flowered or rarely three-flowered, forming a terminal panicle; calyces pear-shaped, on longish or rarely short stalks, faintly angular, not shining; lid not so broad as the tube of the calyx, very depressed or sometimes conspicuously raised towards the centre, tearing off in an irregular transverse line, long retained and soon reflexed from the last point of adherence; stamens all fertile, bent inward before expansion; filaments yellowish-white, some of the outer dilated towards the base; anthers (when fresh) almost cuneateovate or the inner more oblong and the outer slightly cordate, all bursting anteriorly by longitudinal slits; connective reddish, with a slight dorsal turgidity towards the summit; style much exceeded in length by the stamens; stigma not dilated; fruit large, urceolar, not angular; valves generally four, nearly deltoid, inserted much below the narrow edge of the fruit, at last deeply enclosed; fertile seeds large, terminated by a conspicuous membrane; sterile seeds very slender.

The species, above defined, is flowering already at the height of 18 inches (as is the case also with E. cordata and E. vernicosa), therefore, when still quite young, producing then a comparatively large cluster of blossoms; the full-grown tree seldom exceeds a height of 20 feet, and always remains of cripply stature. Stem-diameter to 9 inches, or rarely more; bark, dark grey, rough; leaves of young plants often twice, or even thrice, the size of those of old trees. (Original description.)

Mueller again described it, with slightly different verbiage, and also figured it in the “Eucalyptographia.” The “Eucalyptographia” figure and description can be taken as referring to the type; they were put in hand within a few weeks after the publication of the original description.

I have measured a juvenile leaf 15 by 11 inches, and was informed that larger ones could have been collected.

It will be observed that Mueller speaks of the species as rarely exceeding a height of 20 feet, and that it “always remains of a cripply nature.” In the “Eucalyptographia” he speaks of “the greatest height attained about 20 feet. Stem diameter only to 12 inches as a maximum.” It attains the height of “30 feet or more” at Burrundie.

It would appear that there are variations as regards bark and leaves in this species. Until more field observations are available, let us refer to them as Form 1 and Form 2. It is probable that the two forms may be reconcilable as belonging to the same species.

Form 1. (The bark.) Description of type bark 445. (Typical of, say, 24 miles around Darwin, and therefore presumably typical of the species.)

Hard-scaly, about 1 cm. thick, in longitudinal furrows, and cracking less deeply transversely, so as to form tesseræ longer than wide, but the precise sizes of each tessera variable.

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Form 2. (The bark.) Description of type bark 450. (Typical of the Stapleton district.)

This bark is thin-scaly, simply peeling off in irregular flakes of the thickness of brown paper. As compared with the bark of No. 445, that of 450 appears to be from a young, or a stunted tree.

Form 1. (The leaves.) Common in the species within, say, 24 miles of Darwin.

“Those about Darwin have smaller, thinner, and narrower leaves.” (G. F. Hill.) Mr. Hill is apparently referring to leaves of the shape of fig. 4a, Plate 169, and he is perhaps emphasising his Nos. 344 and 445 (Darwin) too much. At the same time we must remember that those of the type are described as “ovate or verging on a roundish form.” Around Darwin most of the leaves would be from second-growth plants.

The form from Darwin and near Darwin is usually found on dry, shotty ironstone or sandy loam (well drained) or on stony land (about Darwin), usually associated with E. tetradonta, grandifolia, miniata, and my No. 398 (“Smooth-stemmed Bloodwood”). (G. F. Hill.)

Form 2. (The leaves.) Further down the railway line, say from 34 miles to 69 miles, and probably much further. The Stapleton form (69 miles from Darwin).

“The foliage of the Stapleton specimens is denser, leaves more `fleshy' and generally more rounded.” (G. F. Hill.) This is a fair description of the typical form. Mr. Hill says that the Stapleton form grows on the flats or on the foothills very near flats, sometimes on stony country, sometimes on alluvial soil. “The Stapleton form is generally associated with the sp. represented by my 448, 449, E. papuana, E. grandifolia, and E. terminalis.

The bark of the two forms is very distinct, as will be seen by comparing 445 and 450.” (G. F. Hill.)

Lanceolar-leaved form.

We must recognise that lanceolar leaves occur in this species.

“Specimens without fruit, brought by R. Brown in 1802, during Captain Flinders' Expedition from Carpentaria, may also belong to E. Foelscheana, although the leaves pass into a lanceolar form.” (Original description.)

Mueller amplifies these remarks in the following:—

“Some specimens without fruit, brought by Robert Brown already during Capt. Flinders' Expedition from Carpentaria, and presented to the Melbourne Botanic Museum by Sir Joseph Hooker, may belong to an extreme form of E. Foelscheana, although the leaves pass into a lanceolar form, and the flower-stalklets are of lesser length.” (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. Foelscheana.)

Brown's specimen is figured at fig. 1, Plate 170. It does not seem useful to give this lanceolar form a variety name, as it is a transition form, as will be seen from examination of the other figures.

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Confined to the Northern Territory, so far as we know.

“Near Port Darwin, on sandy soil; Mr. Paul Foelsche. Found also in other northern portions of Arnhem's Land, by Mr. J. McKinlay.” (Original description.) In the “Eucalyptographia,” Bridge Creek, which is near Darwin (Burkitt), was added. It will be observed that I have added a number of other Territory localities, all within the tropics. It has still to be searched for in the Cape York Peninsula (Queensland) and in the Kimberley country (North-west Australia).

Western Australia.

Small fruits, broadly lanceolate leaves. Derby (C. H. Ostenfeld). I quote this specimen doubtfully, as although it simulates a small-fruited E. Foelscheana, the material is so imperfect that it may be a coarse form of E. dichromophloia. At the same time our Western Australian friends should be on the lookout for E. Foelscheana in the tropical portion of their State.

Northern Territory.

Huge juvenile foliage, very urceolate fruits. Near Darwin (Prof. Baldwin Spencer, W. S. Campbell. N. Holtze).

“On stony foothills and on flats at foot of hills. Associated with E. setosa, E. miniata, and Coolabah, No. 448. Timber sent, also bark, bark of trunk and branches similar throughout. Buds, flowers, fruit.” Stapleton (G. F. Hill, No. 450). Inflorescence forming an open panicle. “From tree indistinguishable from 450.” Stapleton (G. F. Hill, No. 452). “Tree indistinguishable from 450.” Stapleton (G. F. Hill, No. 455).

“Bloodwood, rough bark on trunk and branches, narrow-leaved form. Small tree (see bark from trunk). Flowers about July, fruits 25th October, 1915.” Darwin (G. F. Hill, No. 344). A form with unusually narrow leaves.

E. Foelscheana. Typical of E. Foelscheana in vicinity of Darwin, and 20 miles south of Darwin. (Note my specimen No. 344 determined as above by you.) Sample of timber, bark, and fruit with seed.” 20 miles S.E. of Darwin (G. F. Hill, No. 445). Pedicellate, broad lanceolate leaves.

The following is an interesting note made by Dr. H. I. Jensen, in 1916, referring to some of the above specimens:—

“344. E. Foelscheana, also 358, 367, 368.

“A further specimen of the broad-leaved type 368 with fruits was collected by me in December last. It was rather surprising to find that the narrow-leaved trees 344 and 358 were the same as 368, as the tree in “Eucalyptographia” was described as low, shrubby, and broad-leaved, and I know it well at Brook's Creek and Bridge Creek where I believe Inspector Foelsche collected his type material. In those localities it is

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never, to my present knowledge, seen more than 15 feet high. It is a low scrub, found principally on clayey clay-slate and schist-flats, leaves very fleshy, flowers in huge bunches at end of branches, flowers very fleshy; pods large. The specimens at Burrundie, however, grow to a height of 30 feet or more—both broad leaf and narrow leaf form, and the tree has the appearance of the Cabbage Gum. The leaves are not as large as usual in the scrubby form. Wood white ant proof.”

“Bastard Bloodwood. Now in flower, has rough bark to top of branches, narrow-leaved form. Another variety has bark like Moreton Bay Ash. Both have reddish resinous splashes on bark. Leaves similar in both.” Burrundie, November, 1915 (Dr. Jensen, No. 358).

Leaves variable in size and shape, Brook's Creek; Pine and Horseshoe Creeks; Pine Creek Railway (E. J. Dunn, R. J. Winters). “Large tree.” Near Pine Creek (C. E. F. Allen, No. 108). Narrowish leaves, open panicle.

“Tree similar to 365, 366. Terminal branches erect; leaves more rounded.” 30 miles south-east of Darwin (G. F. Hill, No. 367).

Broad-leaved form. Medium-sized tree; trunk covered with rough scaly bark; branches smooth, large sucker leaf.” Batchelor, about 60 miles south of Darwin (Dr. H. I. Jensen, No. 368).

Mature and immature fruits. Umbrawarra (Dr. Jensen, No. 416). “On hornfels country, north of Umbrawarra, and on blocky schist country at Woolgni occurs a Bloodwood-like gum with broad leaves like E. Foelscheana, bark mostly smooth, but a little fine scaly bark at base like E. papuana, seed pods larger and urn-shaped, having a more marked rim than those of E. Foelscheana. Leaves, sucker leaves, wood, sent under Nos. 417, 418, 419, and 420. This tree grows on both ridges and flats, and seems variable in size and shape of pod. E. Foelscheana collected in same locality on a small flat, has bark all rough. Seeds without rim, otherwise similar (No. 416).” Umbrawarra (Dr. Jensen, No. 417). Fruits somewhat elongated.

“Rough bark almost to top, large fruits.” McKinlay River flats (Dr. Jensen, No. 387).

Edith Creek; also Track to Katharine River, widely spread; also coarse foliage, fruits not large and hardly urceolate, near Katharine River (Prof. Baldwin Spencer).

“Leaf like E. Foelscheana, bark like E. papuana. Associated with E. setosa. Pedicellate juvenile leaves (? intermediate form). Woolgni (Dr. Jensen, No. 420). Thin juvenile leaves. Woolgni, Cullen River (Dr. Jensen, 415); thin pedicellate juvenile leaves, Cullen River, on banks (Dr. Jensen, No. 419).

Robert Brown's specimens, collected 1802–5, and distributed from the British Museum in 1876 under the labels—

  • (a) (Islands of) Gulf of Carpentaria;
  • (b) No. 4779, E. latifolia F.M. (E. compacta R.Br.), North Coast;

are E. Foelscheana. They are the lanceolate leaved form of the species.

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1. With E. terminalis F.v.M.

E. Foelscheana belongs to the series exemplified by E. terminalis..…If it was not for the great diversity of habit, E. Foelscheana might be approximated very closely to E. terminalis.” (“Eucalyptographia,” under E. Foelscheana.)

Compare Plates 164 and 165 (Part XL) for E. terminalis, with Plates 169 and 170, this Part, for E. Foelscheana. E. Foelscheana is a smaller, more gnarled tree, with very much coarser foliage. The fruits of E. terminalis are longer and narrower, usually less urceolate, or, if urceolate, more high-shouldered. Those of both species may be very large. Both have red timbers.

2. With E. latifolia F.v.M.

In some respects it is allied to E. latifolia; the leaves, however, are larger and not decurrent at the base; the petioles are comparatively shorter and, as well as the branchlets, less slender; the peduncles and pedicels are thicker and less angular; the calyces larger, not roundish-blunt at the base, and therefore not passing suddenly into a pedicel of upwards unincreased thickness; the fruit is much larger, at least twice as long as broad; and considerably contracted towards the summit, thus not almost semi-ovate; the flowers of the real E. latifolia are as yet unknown, and may prove different from those of the E. Foelscheana, though their anthers, seen as remnants, show the same form.” (Original description.)

He repeats these observations in almost the same words, and adds “A few adherent anthers of E. latifolia do, however, exhibit the same form. These two species hold almost the same relation to each other as E. urnigera to E. cordata” (“Eucalyptographia” under E. Foelscheana).

Compare Plates 168 and 169. E. Foelscheana is a very much coarser species than E. latifolia, as regards its inflorescence and fructification. The former species shows greater extremes of size in leaves than does the latter; I have not seen huge leaves nor lanceolar ones in E. latifolia. The fruit of that species is smaller, less urceolate, the orifice smaller, and has slenderer peduncles and pedicels.

3. With E. setosa Schauer.

The affinities with this species are less close. Compare Plate 158, Part XXXVIII, for fruits of E. setosa, which are large, and frequently of the same shape as those of E. Foelscheana, but those of the latter are always glabrous. The leaves of the two species are very different, while E. setosa is often a moderately large, umbrageous tree.