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No 46: Callitris robusta,


Botanical description.

— Species, C. robusta, R.Br. ex Mirb. in Mem. Mus. Par. xiii, 74 (1825).

A tall pyramidal tree.

Branchlets. — Slender and glaucous, the internodes terete or with very obtuse angles, the scales or teeth small and acute.

Male amenta. — Solitary or in threes, 2 to 4 lines long.

Fruit-cones. — Solitary or few together, nearly globular, and usually about 1 in. diameter, rarely either angled or furrowed; the valves 6, alternately about 1/4 shorter, strictly valvate, lustre dull, smooth, or occasionally one or two of the valves more or less verrucose and wrinkled on the back, without any dorsal point, except when the fruit is quite young. Central columella sometimes nearly as long as that of C. columellaris.

Fertile seeds .- Usually 2-winged, the central columella often somewhat prominent; colour light brown.

Botanical Name.

— Robusta, Latin, in allusion to the sturdy growth of the species.

Vernacular Name.

— "White or Common Pine." It is often named after a locality, thus — "Murrumbidgee or Lachlan Pine." Other names will be alluded to later on.

The "Mountain Cypress Pine " of Weddin, near Young, grows on hilly country, and as a rule is not of a very sound nature, having dry rot at the heart; used for saw-milling and fencing purposes. There is very little of this pine in the Grenfell district. — (District Forester A. 0sborne.) There is a variety here (Parkes) known as "Ridge Pine," which may be either figured or plain, but is so called because it grows on the sides of hills. Sawyers will not take it if they detect it, as in many cases, though. apparently sound at both ends, is pithy in the middle, and thus cuts up badly. Generally speaking, the best timber has a rather smooth bark. That with rough curly bark generally indicates a rough curly-grained timber. — (Forest Guard P. J. Holdsworth.)

Mr. Osborne's "Mountain Pine" is C. robusta. Mr. Holdsworth does not send specimens of his "Ridge Pine," but it would appear to include robusta, and also the Red or Black Pine (calcarata), and it is perhaps a name given to inferior timber of both kinds.

Aboriginal Names.

— "Backoowarrah" of those of Ivanhoe, viâ Hay, N.S.W. — (K. H. Bennett)."Carra" is the name in use by the Lachlan blacks in the thirties. — (Mitchell — Three Expeditions). Mr. Forester Kidston in 1894 gave me "Gurrah" as the name used on the Lachlan (near Condobolin) ; it is evidently

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the same as Mitchell's name. "Marung" or "Marunng," of those of Lake Hindmarsh Station, Victoria, and other Murray blacks. "Marro" of the Rottnest (W.A.) blacks, according to Miquel, in Lehmann's Plantæ Preissianæ.


— O. glauca, Nouvelle Hollande (intériéur de la Nouvelle-Galles du Sud, entre 24° et 28°) ; côté méridionale (Golfe Spencer), entre 32° et 35°; ex Mirb. Mem. Mus. Par. xiii, 74 (1825); C. Preissii, Miq. in Lehm. Preiss. i, 643 (1844-5) ; F. robusta, A. Cunn. ex Mirb. loc. cit. ; F. glauca ex Mirb. loc. cit. ; F. canescens, Parlat, S.W. Australia (Roe); Swan River (Drummond, Nov., 1843), li prope Salt Lake ad Tungetta legit Princeps Carolus Gulielmus in Herb. Vindob. sub nomine Callitris Preissii." — Parlat in D.C. Prod. xvi (2), 449.)

I have not seen types of these two species which are referred to robusta.

F. Moorii (O. columellaris). An Frenela glauca, Mirb. (Callitris glauca, R.Br.) huic referenda? — (Parlat) in DC. Prod., xvi (2), 449.

I have seen a specimen doubtfully referred to this species. It is "Murrumbidgee Pine" (O. robusta).

C. robusta is figured in Mueller's Key to Victorian Plants, Fig. ii, as verrucosa. Bentham, while lie combined the species, called them robusta. I think I have fairly shown that robusta and verrucosa should be kept apart.

Leaves (Branchlets).

— Mr. P.J. Holdsworth has made some interesting experiments on the essential oil from the foliage of the White Pine. In one experiment he obtained 1/4 fluid ounce from 6.5 lb. of fresh leaves, and it seems desirable that his experiments should be followed up with the view to ascertain the composition of this oil, as, so far as I know, he is the first to extract oil from these leaves.


— The name White Pine has been attached to this tree because of its glaucous foliage. Sometimes its timber is nearly destitute of figure. I have Mountain Pine " from the Acting Forester at Thackaringa, near Broken Hill, whose timber is of a rich colour, but small.

The white is the one most used for all building and fencing purposes. How it comes to be called "white" I cannot explain, as the sap-wood only is white, while the heart-wood is invariably in lighter or darker shades of red.—(Forester Kidston, Condobolin.)

The durable timber; Black Pine no good. — (A. Murphy, Murrumbidgerie, near Dubbo.)

The white, red, or yellow varieties, as far as I can gather, are of one species; the branchlets are light in colour of bark, also the fruit-cones as compared with the Black Pine. These three distinctions are made owing to the respective colours of the lines running through the timber, but no difference exists as to their durability in works. The white, red, and yellow varieties are in great demand throughout the Western district for house-building. It seems to dry quickly, and has some wonderful records for durability. For example, I have a reliable record of a White Pine post, 20 inches in diameter, put into the ground near Wellington, infested with white ants. It was removed after thirty years, and was quite sound except sap-wood, and of the consistency and colour of iron. It is a capital timber for house-building purposes, but is rarely used in Sydney owing to the expense of bringing it so far by rail. I failed to find a single instance recorded in the Western districts Where white ants attacked the timber after it

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was dry, and the majority of the houses, etc., around the towns of Dubbo and Wellington are built of this timber. It is also forwarded for upwards of 100 miles by rail for building purposes, and invariably gives satisfactory results as long as the black variety is not used. — (J. V. de Coque.) The pine timber is the most useful timber here for buildings, telegraph-posts, and posts for wire fencing, and is not so liable as other timber to the attack of white ants. It takes a good polish, and I have seen shop-counters made from the same. It is also much used for ceilings, and looks remarkably well, and remains sound under the ground for many years. —(Forester Payten, Corowa.) The White Pine is a valuable timber, and is used extensively for building, fencing, and telegraph-poles. It stands well in the ground, especially if the bark is left on the part that is put underneath the surface. For building purposes it is indispensable, and nearly all the wooden buildings in town and country are made from this wood. It keeps sound for a long time, but houses made of this timber will not bear moving, as it splits and breaks very easily while being taken to pieces, so they cannot be erected again with any degree of neatness. — (Forester Postlethwaite, Grenfell.) This is one of the most useful trees, used mainly for saw-milling and fencing purposes, and is of hardy growth. —(District Forester Osborne, Cootamundra.) This timber is very free from knots, and easily worked, and is considered by builders and carpenters as the best of our pine, and is used for all buildin 'g purposes. It takes a very fine polish, and is very handsome in the grain. This pine is proof against white ants. I have often seen them moving over it to attack other timber, and would not attempt to touch the pine.—(Forester Smith, Dubbo.)


— Height, 50-60 feet. — (Forester Taylor, Wagga). It sometimes reaches a diameter of 18 or 20 inches.- (Forester Postlethwaite, Grenfell.) Attaining a height of 70 or 80 feet with a diameter of 2 feet, the logs now being brought in to the mills running from 30 to 50 feet. — (Forester Smith, Dubbo.)


— In all the States except Tasmania. It is usually gregarious, forming scrub forests on sandy barren lands.


Rocky Bay and Woodman's Point (Preiss No. 1,312); coast districts of South-west Australia (Bynoe); King George's Sound (Baxter); near Fremantle (Hügel); Rottnest Island (Allan Cunningham, also Preiss No. 1,310). All the above quoted by Parlatore, but some may be liable to revision. The type locality is "Ile Rottnest sur la côte occidentale, lat. 31°."

Mr. W. V. Fitzgerald says of this species:—

Abundant on Rottnest Island and sparingly near Claremont. It frequently attains a height of 45 feet.

and the specimens he sends in no way differ from the common White Pine of our western (N.S.W.) country.

Speaking of Western Australia, Diels and Pritzel state:—

It is not at all particular in the choice of its habitat. We have seen it growing on granite on the coast, in the limestone regions of the west coast, on sand in the interior, and on gravelly conglomerates, but always associating with vegetation characteristic of the Eremwan Region. Apart from the littoral it seems, therefore, to be wanting entirely in the districts Darling and Warren. — (Englers' Jahrb. xxxv.)

E. Pritzel's No. 848, Plantæ Australiæ occidentalis, Coolgardie, October, 1901, labelled "Frenela robusta, Cunn.," shows a few warts and inclines to verrucosa. It is an intermediate form of which many other instances could be given.

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Very common in this State, from near the coast far into the interior. In sending me specimens from the Mount Brown Forest Reserve, Mr. Walter Gill remarks:—

Spencer's Gulf is only a few miles due west. You may consider this a real Spencer's Gulf Pine, as it is typical of thousands of similar trees all along the ranges, which rise immediately from the plain forming the borderland east of the Gulf.

The Horn Expedition only collected robusta, or as Mueller put it, "verrucosa of the smooth-coned variety. "


In the Mallee country generally. Some specimens from Mildura (Mr. Borrett) have markedly furrowed valves. I draw attention to this because Bentham, in the key (B.Fl., vi. 235), places robusta in a section in which the "junction of the valves is neither prominent nor furrowed." It is but another instance of the variation which obtains in the genus.


It is abundantly distributed in the dry country west of the Dividing Range of this State. It is unnecessary to enumerate all the localities in the National Herbarium, but following are some notes, chiefly by foresters, some of them made some years ago, and now published for the first time:—

There is no pine growing in any of the reserves in my district, which extends to the edge of the pine country about Wagga and Old Junee. I have searched the country between Old Junee and Wagga for pine, and have only found a few pines, and they chiefly in alienated lands. From Old Junee and Wagga towards Narrandera. you get into the pine-country which is out of my district. I have seen a little pine in the Camping Reserve at Alfred Town, on the banks of the Murrumbidgee, but no quantity, and also a small quantity between Upper and Lower Tarcutta, but very small. — (Forester Mecham, Tumut.) Native Pine grows in the hills, and the soil is of a rocky and stony nature. On Poolamacca Pastoral Holding, 6 miles south of Torrowangee, they are very scarce, only an odd pine-tree here and there. — (W. N. Baker, Acting Forester, Torrowangee.) There is a great scarcity of matured pine timber in this district. The whole of the matured trees have been felled before the present reserves were proclaimed, and great waste of valuable timber took place, the greater portion being allowed to rot on the reserves. The following are the principal pine reserves in my district, within the County of Townsend, and are all fairly well-timbered with young pine, in all stages of growth. Nos. 1,901, 1,902, and 3,156, situated on Puckawidgee Run; Nos. 1,879 and 1,880, Steam Plains; No. 7, Conargo; No. 1,404, Deniliquin; and part of No. 1,458, Warwillah Run. All these reserves, with the exception of No. 1,458, have under my supervision been thinned, and all scrub and undergrowth cut and burnt off by the lessees of the runs. The timber has wonderfully improved since the clearing, and will become very valuable in time. The only other pine reserve in my district of importance is No. 3,103, situated on Chah Ling River, County of Wakool. This reserve is timbered with good pine, most of the trees are now suitable for telegraph posts. Bush fires in this district. have tended to destroy hundreds of acres of splendid young pine forests, both on freehold and Crown lands; very little fire destroys the young timber. There are several other reserves in my district that contain small patches of pine. The total area of pine timbers including all the reserves in my district, I would estimate at about 10,000 acres. — (Forester Wilshire, Deniliquin.) There are about 20,000 acres of land upon the reserves in my district, well-timbered with pines. — (Forester Payten, Corowa.)

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The number of reserves (pine) in my district is 101, and the area which they cover is 467,625 acres. There is a plentiful supply of pine distributed over these reserves in various stages of growth, from trees of half an inch in circumference up to 4 feet. This pinenote is of two varieties, known locally as " Black and White Pine."- (Forester Condell, Narrandera.) As near as I can calculate, there are about 92,000 acres of White Pine on the timber reserves in my district, exclusive of a proposed reserve in the County of Gipps, which I believe has not yet been gazetted, containing about 2,000 acres of pine. Though pine timber is found upon the area abovementioned, it is principally of a small description, the larger trees having been already felled for various purposes, and there are probably at the present time not more than one-third of that number of acres carrying matured trees. The White Pine thrives best on sandy ridges, and is generally found with other timbers, such as Bull Oak and Box. The former is occasionally found in considerable numbers on the Weddin Forest Reserve, for instance, there are hundreds of acres of this class of timber which grows to a greater size here than upon any other reserve that I know of.- (Forester Postlethwaite, Grenfell.) To be found on nearly every reserve throughout the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee districts, especially on stony ridges. — (Forester Taylor, Wagga Wagga.) There is a large quantity of pine timber, the White or Yellow Pine being mostly used; the great bulk of pine now being cut by mills in Dubbo, Narromine, Trangie, and Wellington, being obtained from Crown lands between the railway line and the Bogan River, the belts of timber running from Timber Reserve No. 2,727 to close to Peak Hill, with very little break. The trees being very sound and large, I have already recommended this country be reserved so that the young timber could be protected, which is very necessary, and which if done would give a lasting supply to the mill's named. I would estimate the output of pine in this district at nearly 3,000,000 feet per annum, and this could be maintained if more of the young pine were protected, as near towns small trees are cut and brought in to save carriage. There is also a large quantity of pine, on Crown lands within my district, being carted to towns outside, such as Parkes, Mudgee, Coonamble, &c., the quantity of which I could not form an estimate. The White Pine is found in large quantities growing amongst the scrub, and if the scrub were cleared there would very soon be good pine in its place. The White Pine is the most plentiful in this district.- (Forester Smith, Dubbo.) The White Pine is found growing in the thickest scrubs, and is considered good timber for all purposes; saplings run up straight, with little taper, and are used for rafters, ridging, and bush carpentry in general. — (District Forester Marriott, Dubbo.)

Mr. Marriott's Red Pine is also C. robusta; his Black Pine is (as is usually the case) C. calcarata. I see no marked difference in the colouration of these three Dubbo timbers. If anything, the Black Pine is the lightest; but the two robustas (White and Red Pine) have a clear band of pale sap-wood, while in the Black Pine the band is far less marked. Commenting on this, Mr. Marriott reports, "The Red Pine is considered to be if anything the best timber for milling purposes. The White and Red Pine found on the level country constitute the pine of the plains. Sometimes the Red Pine is called Yellow Pine. For other notes on the subject see "Timber," p. 34.

White Pine is more or less plentiful thence to the north-west railway line.

White Pine is found growing on light loams and sandy loams, chiefly bad country. It is one of the most common tree growths in the district. — (District Forester Bishop Lyne, Narrabri.) The principal reserves in and around Gunnedah comprise 56,613 acres, chiefly composed of pine. Breeza, Doona, Tulcumbah, and Denison may be taken as the largest, but with the exception of the lastnamed there is no pine left of the required size. Breeza reserve, situated 25 miles from Gunnedah, and comprising 19,070 acres, is completely cut out of pine. Thousands of logs have been taken from this reserve for the past twenty-five years. Doona and Tulcumbah reserves may be classified as the same, and unless proper measures are taken the young pine now maturing will be stunted and knotty. Denison

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reserve is, however, a valuable one as far as pine is concerned, the reserve, comprising 29,500 acres, growing an average of eight matured trees per acre, over an area of 20,000 acres. This reserve could also be improved, as far as the young pine is concerned. If it were attended to, it should be able to produce a constant supply of pine yearly. At a rough estimate, there is in my district 163,000 acres growing, on an average, five matured pine-trees per acre, and the young pine saplings, in a healthy state, might be averaged at the same, with an average of more than double.- (Forester Harris, Gunnedah.)

Mr. Harris' district contained both White Pine and also Black Pine, C. calcarata.


This species is found over enormous areas in Western Queensland, extending to near the coast in Central Queensland. In that State we often find species which in New South Wales are looked upon as Eremaean extending to the coast.

Pine Scrub and Pine-thinning.

C. robusta mainly forms the Pine Scrub of the west; to a less extent C.calcarata is a pest; sometimes, in a given area, the two species are commingled. The matter of dealing with these lands is discussed in a valuable pamphletnote I do not, therefore, propose to do more than briefly touch upon the subject.

"Pine Scrub" is a serious pest to pastoralists in the interior, the land not only being rendered useless for grazing purposes by reason of the millions of young trees, as thick as a maize-crop, but this scrub is a safe hiding-place for innumerable vermin-rabbits, dingoes, &c. Efforts have been made, under the supervision of the Forest Department, to thin out the saplings, and thus allow trees to attain maturity.

The following extract from a report by Cadet Swain, of the Forest Department, which was obtained at my instigation, gives so excellent an account of White Pine, the principal component of Pine Scrub, that I reproduce it here. Mr. Swain was in the Grenfell, &c., district:—

A symmetrical tree attaining a height of 100 feet, of glaucous foliage, and often crowded branches. It occurs generally as Pine Scrub, with a sprinkling of matured trees; on reddish sandy loam in almost pure forest, with a slight admixture of White and Yellow Box and Kurrajong.

It is a light-demander, and though the scrub is often very thick, the foliage is so thin that the sun obtains apparently unrestricted admission.

Reproduction is effected at long irregular intervals as the result of a good season, when the young pine scrub quickly covers the ground with a glaucous seedling growth. The " thicket " stage succeeds — a dense crop of whipstick pine with dead snaky branches interlacing and forming the dreaded pine scrub. This is followed by the pole stage.

A further report says:—

In some places the scrub is so dense that it is impassable, and I have counted twenty-six pine plants, each from 3 to 8 feet in height, upon 1 square yard. Plants growing as close as this can never reach maturity or usefulness. I have lately supervised the thinning out of a small area (120 acres) in the Weddin Forest Reserve and have left all those of 4 inches and upwards intact, and thinned out those

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under this size to 8 feet apart, which I think is quite close enough to enable them to become useful. The pine is occasionally attacked by a grub, which is about 7/8 ths of an inch long, of a white or cream colour. Its head is the largest part and it burrows around the stem of the plant, just under the bark, while young, and afterwards penetrates to the interior, sometimes killing the tree, but so far does not seem to have destroyed many in this district; but rabbits, if hard pressed for food, will bark the small saplings, as has been done in this district, but not to any great extent, as the rabbits are not at present numerous enough. — (Forester Postlethwaite, Grenfell.)

In the Annual Report, Forest Branch, Department of Mines, for 1884, p. 35, is a "Report by Dr. von Lendenfeld on the life-history of an insect destroying the pine scrub in the Nymagee, Condobolin, and Forbes districts." The insect in question is a beetle Diodoxus erythrurus, White, which ringbarks the young pine scrub. He made the remarkable proposal that these beetles should be systematically introduced into the pine scrub in order that they might clear it, saving the cost of felling or ringbarking. The larval stage of the beetle is the grub already alluded to by Mr. Forester Postlethwaite. While there are, of course, drawbacks to pine scrubs, yet the pine is a valuable asset in this country, and the time may come when it will be carefulIy conserved. Already in parts of the country the scarcity of this valuable timber is being felt, and it often grows in situations entirely unsuited to agriculture, or even pasture.

There is a very limited quantity of matured pine-trees in my district; the young trees vary in size from 2 to 10 inches in diameter, and are of healthy condition and straight, but are of such dense growth that the trees can make but little headway on account of not having sufficient light and moisture. — (Forester Payten, Corowa.) I consider we have a supply of pine here which, with care, would last a generation if our reserves are only attended to-that is, by having the timber judiciously thinned out and the useless scrub destroyed. — (Forester Condell, Narrandera.) Between the Murray and the Darling there must be at least 50,000,000 acres of pine country, less what has been destroyed. In all that area there are no other timber of any commercial value but Pine and River Gum (Eucalyptus rostrata). The pine derives its principal value from its resisting the white ants and because there is no other timber, west of Forbes, in any quantity that does so. The notable increase and spread of young pine-trees dates back from the country being stocked with sheep; after rain, the seed is dibbled into the soil by the sheep's feet. From 20 miles north of the Murrumbidgee to beyond Cobar, and from Dubbo, Forbes, and Wagga, on the east, to Booligal and Mossgiel, on the west, may be considered a vast pine forest with a few open plains intervening. In my belief a great misapprehension exists regarding the time required for a pine sapling to become a matured tree-say from 1 foot high to 15 inches in diameter. Mr. J. Ednie Brown thought it would grow to be 1 foot thick in twelve or fourteen years. I think it will take at least sixty years; and this is accounted for by the diminished and intermittent rainfall of the Western district. I have counted eight young pines, 3 to 8 feet high, on 14 square inches. As they grow up the taller kill the shorter ones, while the density or number of the plants wither the lateral branches, ultimately leaving the trees that matured without branches or knots for 20 feet to 25 feet from the ground. But for the pine the whole of the Western district would require to import its timber, for American or Baltic is ruined by the white ants in a year or two. — (Forester Kidston, Condobolin.) In places where young whipstick pine is growing thickly I have seen a few trees, about 4 feet high, that have been cleared and pruned, the consequence being that in seven years they have become saplings 18 feet high, with a circumference of 1 foot; whilst on the other hand, whipstick pine left alone, growing some distance from Gunnedah, is, I am credibly informed, almost the same to-day as it was fifteen years ago, the only dlifference being that some are taller than others, perhaps 14 feet high, but with no trunk of any size; but if these were cleared and pruned now they should in a very few years mature, and the gradual dying out of the matured pine in my district without a corresponding increase, or anything being done to push the young pine forward, should show the necessity of fostering an important industry. — (Forester Harris, Gunnedah.)

Footnotes Issue No. 46.

Supplementary Material Added to Volume 3.

No. 46. Part XII. Callitris robusta, R.Br.

Aboriginal Names. - See vol. ii, P. 41. Mr. J. G. Saxton, of Melbourne, gives "Marong" as the name for the Murray River Pine. This is another spelling He also gives the name "Maroo" as a Victorian aboriginal name for Pine-trees in general.

Timber.- See vol. ii, p. 41. Cypress Pine (Callitris robusta, R.Br.) which I have used, and find it is of very little use for house-blocks, as it is subject to dry-rot; but will withstand white ants, and is good for flooring-boards and house-building, when not exposed to the weather or damp, the house being built on blocks. Have also used it for wire mattress frames, 3 ft. x 2 ft. doors, lining boards (it polishes well), picture frames (R. J. Dalton, Tinapagee, Wanaaring.) For a microscopical examination of the timber see Dr. Fl. Tassi, Bull, Lab. orto botanico di Siena, viii, Fasc. 1 - 4, p. 12.


"Cypress Pine," Weelamurra, beyond Bourke. - (Kerry & Co.)

Supplementary Material Added With Volume 6.

No. 46. Part XII. See also vol. iii, p. 166.

Callitris robusta R.Br.

(Family C0NIFERÆ.)


Callitris robusta. Weilmoringle, N.S.W. (Photo, C.J. McMaster).

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