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No. 49: Callitris propinqua,


Botanical description.

— Species, C. propinqua, R.Br., ex Mirb. Mém. Mus. Par. xiii, 74 (1825).

Branchlets. — Slender, the internodes rounded, and with very obtuse angles.

Male amenta. — Solitary, or 2 or 3 together; about 2 to 3 lines long.

Fruit-cones. — Clustered on the old wood on thick peduncles; globular or rather oblong; above 1 inch long when opened; the valves wrinkled or sparingly warted, mostly tesselated inside round the short central column.

Fertile seeds. — Dark brown, with two large rounded spreading wings, the whole seed at least twice as long as broad.

This is a species which of late years has been confused with C. Muelleri on the one hand, and C. verrucosa on the other. One must keep to the type, especially as I have prominently drawn attention to the somewhat arbitrary boundaries of most of the species. From C. Muelleri, C. propinqua may be separated by the perfectly smooth cones and coarse angular branchlets of the former. It has the smooth branchlets often seen in C. verrucosa, and it has often a few warts on the valves; its affinity to C. verrucosa, a species name which has by Mueller been used somewhat as a drag-net, is evident. The stout peduncles, and the way in which the cones remain on the old wood for years, separate this species and verrucosa from robusta.


— The type came from "Ile des Kangourous, sur la coôte méridionale, lat. 36°." This is, of course, off South Australia. I have specimens from Kangaroo Island through the kindness of Constable Thorpe, and also of Miss E. J. Benham and Mr. Walter Gill. I have also seen Waterhouse's specimens from Kangaroo Island, which were labelled Frenela robusta by Parlatore. The species extends to the mainland, being found in South Australia. Going west we find it in Western Australia, and eastward it occurs in Victoria and New South Wales.


Sandy Creek, near Gawler, (W. Gill). This tree certainly has affinity to C.Muelleri in angularity of branchlets, fruits (lustre, columella, seeds, and seed cones). Some of these specimens have branchlets as slender as those of Mr. Baker's C. gracilis. It has also affinity both to C. robusta and verrucosa, as any observer may see. The fact is that in Callitris one must closely adhere to the type, and this is specially the case with such species as columellaris, Muelleri, and propinqua.

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I have a specimen from the Mt. Brown Forest Reserve, S.A. (W. Gill), which has bright green foliage, and is hence sharply differentiated from the glaucous White Pine (C. robusta) growing with it. But while the cones appear to resemble those of C. robusta a good deal, one cone has two of the valves more or less warted, as shown in the drawing. While the old cones are nearly sessile (like verrucosa and calcarata), the younger ones have thinnish and rather long pedicels, as often seen in C. robusta. The column is that of C. verrucosa and C. robusta.

An unusually large-fruited specimen from Franklin Harbour, Spencer's Gulf (Peter McKechnie, through Bishop Hale), is in the Melbourne Herbarium.

I have referred to the South Australian specimens at some length partly because they are obtained from localities not far from that of the type, and partly to put observers on their guard. If one were inclined to "lump," the Australian Callitrises might go under three or four species, so much do they resemble each other.


Bald Island (Oldfield), tree of 15 or 20 feet. "The Bald Island Pine of the Colonists." — (Oldfield.) Some of the cones being sparingly tuberculate, like those of the Kangaroo Island tree, show some resemblance to C. verrucosa. Coast at Bremer Bay (J. Wellstead, comm. A. Morrison) has much the facies of C. Muelleri as regards the fruits (egg-shell lustre, column, and dark seeds).


Under F. Muelleri, Parlatore (in DC. Prod., xvi (2), 450) gives the loc. "... ad Port Phillip Heads." I have seen the specimens, which are from the Quarantine Station. collected by Mrs. Barker and others. I am of opinion that they belong to C. propinqua, though I readily admit their similarity to C. Muelleri; but their smooth branchlets remove them from that species.


I am of opinion that the Cypress Pine of Quiedong, Bombala, belongs to this species. This is limestone country, and the trees, which have been carefully examined by me, have branchlets very close to those of C. verrucosa (as, indeed, other specimens of propinqua have).

Specimens from Acting Forester J. Bear, of Wentworth, "growing on sandy ridges, and the only Pine in the district," connect with the South Australian specimens, and appear to be also referable to propinqua. The Quiedong and Wentworth specimens have cones larger than those of propinqua usually are.

Mr. R. T. Baker describes and figures (Proc. Linn. Soc., N.S.W., xxviii, 839) a new species, confined to the Rylstone district, under the name of C. gracilis.

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All the known species of Callitris have a rather extensive range, and it is not likely that the present form is an exception. I have not seen the specimens, but the drawing is very good. The cones are large, like those of the Quiedong propinqua, which they precisely resemble. The branchlets are slender, like those of propinqua often are. The number of male amenta is one, or only occasionally two, but I have shown that this character is not exclusive to this form, occurring in the Quiedong specimens, also in verrucosa and cupressiformis.

Mr. Baker figures his gracilis with the stamens imbricate in 6 vertical rows. All the specimens of C. propinqua to which I have access possess a similar character. It is not rare in other species. Male flowers of Callitris have been but rarely figured, but Wildeman figures C. cupressiformis (C. rhomboidea) with the stamens in 6 vertical rows. I cannot find any character to separate gracilis from propinqua.


Plate 47: The White and Other Cypress Pines (Callitris robusta, R.Br.)(Callitris propinqua, R.Br.)(Callitris columellaris, F.v.M.) Lithograph by M. Flockton.

Callitris robusta, R.Br.

  • A. Twig bearing male flowers and cones.
    • A1. Portion of branchlets enlarged.
  • B. A cone opening.
  • C. A cone further advanced, showing the prominent central columella. (Letters A–C from Dubbo, N.S.W.)
  • D. Cone of "Murray Pine" from Mildura, Vic., furrowed at the valves.
  • E. Young cone of Red Pine from Dubbo, showing long stalk, and cone somewhat pointed.
  • F. Branchlet (enlarged) bearing male flowers.
  • G. Scale with anthers.
  • H. Fruit, bearing a few small warts or tubercles.
  • J. Seeds. (F–J from Mount Lofty, near Adelaide.)

Callitris propinqua, R.Br.

  • K. Branchlet (enlarged) bearing male flowers, Bremer Bay, W.A.
  • L. Portion of branchlet bearing male flowers, much enlarged.
  • M. Stamen with anthers.
  • N. Cone, showing columella.
  • O. Seeds. (L — 0 from Quiedong, near Bombala, N.S.W.)
  • P. Portion of branchlet (enlarged) from Sandy Creek, near Gawler, S.A. (The fruit, being identical with that of Quiedong, has not been also drawn.)
  • Q. Cone a little pointed and sparingly tuberculate, from Wentworth. N.S.W.
  • R. Cone from type locality (Kangaroo Island, S.A.). For another fruit of C. propinqua, see letter H. of Plate 46.

Callitris columellaris F.v.M.

  • S. Branchlet (enlarged) bearing male flowers.
  • T. Cones, opening and shedding seeds.
  • U. Cone showing the prominent columella, from which the species was named.
  • V. A single columella.
  • W. Seeds. (All from type locality, Richmond River, N.S.W).

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