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LXII. E. polyanthemos Schauer.

FOR a description of this species, see p. 109, Part XIII of this work. It will be observed that, at p. 56 of the present Part, E. Dawsoni R. T. Baker has been recognised as a species distinct from E. polyanthemos.


In Plate 223, Part LIX of my “Forest Flora of New South Wales,” I figured the type specimen of E. polyanthemos Schauer.

Most of the leaves are orbicular, and I find that the plate is incomplete to the extent that I did not also figure the lanceolate leaves which are often found on trees bearing orbicular and broadly lanceolate leaves as on the type.

If, however, Plate 58 of Part XIII of the “Critical Revision” be turned to, it will be found that (as explained at p. 56) while figures 4, 9, 10, 11 are E. Dawsoni, and show lanceolate leaves, Nos. 3, 5, 8 also show lanceolate leaves, and are true E. polyanthemos.

The Bark.

The “North of Bathurst” tree (the type of E. polyanthemos) has a more or less rough, flaky bark, but it varies, within limits, as to the amount of fibre and the distance the roughness reaches up the bole. See also Cudal (W. F. Blakely), Hill End (R. H. Cambage), p. 61, for local descriptions more or less full.

The north-east of Victoria and the southern New South Wales tree was described by the late Dr. A. W. Howitt as having a “gnarled, greyish boxy bark” and “bark grey, persistent, and looks often scaly.” “At first sight the tree resembles somewhat E. hemiphloia variety albens in its bark.” Mr. Baeuerlen, speaking of trees near Bombala, N.S.W., says, “bark light or yellow-grey, fibrous, persistent except on the topmost smallest branchlets.”

Speaking of the Tumberumba district, N.S.W., Mr. R. H. Cambage says:—“In comparing these trees with the Victorian and Bathurst Red Box, they appear to more nearly resemble the former, but this is chiefly owing to their having Box bark covering the trunk and limbs. The fruit might belong to either, while, from a cursory examination, the red timber of all three appears the same. In foliage, however, the Kyeamba trees closely resemble the Bathurst Red Box, which has been described by R.T. Baker under the name E. ovalifolia (these Proceedings, 1900, p. 680). (Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., xxix, 687.)

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See also the description of the bark under Wyndham (J. L. Boorman); near Albury (Bishop J. W. Dwyer); Canberra (R. H. Cambage).

The use of the term Box as applied to this tree has caused some confusion. The earliest settlers probably applied the name to a half-barked sub-fibrous barked tree, which Sydney people know as Box (E. hemiphloia). Later settlers, in the drier parts, refer to a bark which is often less fibrous and more flaky, e.g., as is often seen in E. melliodora. I have seen the trees over much of the range of the species in New South Wales and Victoria, and am satisfied that the “north of Bathurst” (the type) and the Southern Tableland (and Victorian) trees do not really differ in bark. There are, of course, differences in the barks as regards individual trees, particularly in localities far apart, as one would naturally expect.

E. polyanthemos has lanceolate leaves.

The following specimens were seen by Mueller and labelled by him E. polyanthemos; all have lanceolate leaves, which indeed are often seen on the upper branches of the species. It is, indeed, a matter of common observation that towards the top of an adult tree the leaves become smaller or more lanceolate. This has been already referred to under “Illustrations.”

Mr. R. H. Cambage (op. cit.) points out the variation in the leaves of this species. Besides the examples to be immediately cited, see the references under “Range” to the Federal Territory leaves (Weston, Cambage), and Hill End (Cambage).

1. “Den.” Narrow-leaved Grey Box. The young saplings have round blue leaves, the old trees as within [i.e., lanceolate leaves.—J.H.M.]. Bark grey, persistent, and looks often scaly. The smallest branches are smooth. This tree when young often grows as a number of saplings from the same root. The trunk has often swellings and knobs, and is frequently largest just where it springs from the ground (Iguana Creek, Gippsland, A. W. Howitt, No. 10).

As to the use of the name Den, see the present work XIII, p. 109. These specimens show that, even if this aboriginal name is given to another species, it is certainly applied to E. polyanthemos.

2. In “E. polyanthemos, Snowy River, Gippsland (R. Rowe per Charles Walter),” the leaves vary from broadly lanceolate to lanceolate and even narrow-lanceolate. There are no orbicular leaves amongst them.

3. Mudgee road, N.S.W. The specimen is identical with Schauer's, but the sender [not named.—J.H.M.] writes:—“In the larger trees the leaves are ovatelanceolate.”

Other specimens in the Melbourne Herbarium including lanceolate leaves are:—Daylesford (J. R. Tovey); County of Talbot (F. M. Reader). Both Victoria.

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This has already been described at pages 112–115 of Part XIII. In view of the confusion that has gathered about some specimens, I give the following labels of specimens in the Melbourne Herbarium seen by Mueller, which have been sent to me by Professor Ewart. I have excluded those specimens of E. Dawsoni and E. Baueriana which Mueller attributed to E. polyanthemos. The labels of these specimens are, in some cases, referred to at p. 113, sometimes with some change in the verbiage. In most cases the leaves are orbicular to broad- or oblong-lanceolate.

Victoria (seen by Mueller).

McAllister River (Mueller, 1858). Seen by Bentham.

“Hill Box, Red Wood,” Mt. Kosciusko Range (Findlay, January, 1880). Wangaratta. Also timber No. B2, from same locality.

Beechworth and near Chiltern (A. W. Howitt). Ovens River (Mueller, January, 1853). Seen by Bentham.

Bindi (?). Gippsland (Mr. O'Rourke, A. W. Howitt).

Heyfield and Euroa (A. W. Howitt).

Upper Avoca and Loddon Rivers (A. C. Purdie, 1894).

With lanceolate leaves, Ravenswood (Walter K. Bissill).

Red Box. Wood red, close-grained, durable and very useful. Warrandyte, July, 1874 (? Walter).

“Walter's timber specimen from Anderson's Creek.”

New South Wales (seen by Mueller).

Delegate district (W. Baeuerlen, March, 1885, No. 124). Flowering as a shrub about 8 or 10 feet high, very spreading. Occurring only once on a hill here. Quiedong, near Bombala (W. Baeuerlen, March, 1887, No. 419). Bark light or yellow-grey, fibrous, persistent except on the topmost smallest branchlets. Trunk 2–3 feet, low, soon dividing. Branches wide-spreading. 50–60 feet high (do. No. 418).

“White Box. Upright tree 50–70 feet high. 2–3 feet diameter. Common in Lachlan and Murrumbidgee districts.” (J. Duff, 1883, No. 44.)

New South Wales.

Following are some additional specimens in the National Herbarium, Sydney:—

“Small to medium-sized trees up to 40 or 50 feet. Bark ribbony or coming away in flakes, leaving a mottled patchy stem of red and grey. Foliage varying in size and shape; a most variable tree. Timber spoken of locally as first-class, but seldom reaches mill-size in the district.” Wyndham (J. L. Boorman).

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“Has a persistent, rather rough bark; spreading and rarely tall. Locally called `Black Box' (?) near Bega.” (W. D. Francis).

“Bark fibrous, persistent up to the branches, then whitish. About 50 feet high. Flowers creamy white, buds ashy.” Albury (Rev., now Bishop J. W. Dwyer, No. 111). Albury (A. V. Frauenfelder).

Gundaroo (Rev. J. W. Dwyer). Mt. Stromlo, Federal Territory (C. J. Weston). With cylindroid fruits and lanceolate leaves. Malcolmvale, Majura, Federal Territory (C. J. Weston, No. 48). Smooth bark, almost to ground; some of the leaves lanceolate. Towards Murrumbidgee from Canberra (R. H. Cambage, No. 2974).

Very common throughout the district and known as “Red Box.” It occasionally produces a straight, workable timber, which is said to be excellent for all purposes, but usually it is a small much-branched tree. It suckers freely, and is a good honey plant. Trunkey (J. L. Boorman).

“Red Box; gum bark, except at base.” With lanceolate leaves, Hill End (R. H. Cambage, No. 2751).

Bumbery (J. L. Boorman).

“Rather low, well-branched trees. The bark white or greyish. Timber chiefly used for fencing, height 40–50 feet, girth 3 to 4 feet.” Box from the ranges, Mount Esk, Bowan Park, near Cudal (W. F. Blakely).


These are dealt with at p. 116 of Part XIII, and it is only necessary to add E. Dawsoni to the species there enumerated. The differences between E. polyanthemos and this species are dealt with at p. 57 of the present Part.