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No. 221: Eucalyptus oleoso


Red Mallee.

(Family MYRTACEÆ.)

Botanical description.

— Genus, Eucalyptus. (See Part II, p. 33.)

Botanical description.

— Species, E. oleosa F.v.M., in Miquel's paper in Ned. Kruidk, Arch. iv, 128 (1856).

The above description is not quite satisfactory, since it refers to mixed material. The following is by Bentham:—

A shrub or small tree, the bark of the trunk rough and persistent, that of the; branches smooth. (F. Mueller.)

Leaves mostly lanceolate, obtuse or acuminate, under 4 inches long, thick and smooth, the oblique and rather numerous veins scarcely conspicuous.

Peduncles axillary or lateral, terete or slightly angular, each with about 4 to 8 more or less pedicellate flowers.

Calyx-tube obovoid, more or less contracted at the base, and sometimes at the top, 2 to 2 1/2 inches long.

Operculum obtusely conical or shortly acuminate, usually exceeding the calyx-tube, and sometimes much longer and not very thick.

Stamens 2 to 3 lines long, inflected in the bud, but without the acute angle of E. uncinata; anthers small, ovate, with parallel distinct cells.

Ovary short, convex or conical in the centre.

Fruit ovoid or globose, truncate, contracted at the orifice, about 3 lines long, the rim flat or concave, the capsule sunk, but the slender points of the valves formed by the split base of the style often protruding. (B.Fl. iii, 248.)

It is figured and described by Mueller in the "Eucalyptogrpphia."


— There are two fairly well marked varieties:—

1. Var. longicornis F.v.M.

2. Var. glauca Maiden.

Neither of them occurs in New South Wales so far as we know at present. Var. longicornis is only known from Western Australia, and var. glauca chiefly occurs in that State, but it extends into South Australia, and way yet be found in western New South Wales.

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These two varieties are figured and fully described in Part XV of my "Critical Revision of the genus Eucalyptus," to which my readers are referred for further information in regard to a somewhat protean species.


— This is, dealt with at some length, though not finally, at page 173, Part XV, of the same work.

Botanical Name.

— Eucalyptus, already explained (see Part II, p. 34); oleosa, Latin, oil-bearing. In spite of its name, it is not an important source of Eucalyptus oil. For further particulars see "A Research on the Eucalypts" (Baker and Smith).

Vernacular Names.

— "Red Mallee" because of the colour of the timber.

Sometimes called "Smooth-barked Mallee," but this is by no means sufficently characteristic; indeed I have sometimes known it to be called "Rough-barked Mallee," but it is usually smooth rather than rough.

The variety glauca Maiden, is on the. sand-hills at Ooldea, S.A., stated by Mr; Henry Deane to be called "Water Mallee," because its roots yield water to the. blacks (compare Part LI, p. 14). It is, with other trees, known as "Blackbutt" on the Eastern Gold-fields of Western Australia.

The variety longicornis F.v.M. is known in Western Australia as "Morrel," and in some districts as "Poot."

Aboriginal Names.

— I know of none which can be certainly attributed to this species.


— E. socialis F.v.M., E. laurifolia Behr, E. turbinata Behr et F.v.M. These are forms found in South Australia. For details, which need not be repeated here, see my "Critical Revision of the genus Eucalyptus," Part XV.


— Normally the juvenile leaves are broad or broadish, but they vary in width, so that in some exceptional instances they may be narrower.


— The operculum is usually pointed-tapering, but sometimes rounded and even almost hemispherical. Occasionally the buds almost assume the "egg-in-egg-cup" shape, reminding one of E. salubris (the Gimlet gum of Western Australia) and a few other species, in this respect.


— A common character is the awl-shaped tips of the valves, which are jell exsert as a rule.


— Its trunk has roughish bark at the butt, but the upper portion and the branches are smooth.


— Colour of a reddish brown, with the reddish. colour predominating more or less. It is durable, but it is usually so small that it is but of limited use except for such local purposes as posts and rails and fuel.

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— It is a Mallee, but it may attain the dignity of a small or medium-sized tree, rarely, however, attaining a height of 25 to 30 feet.


— The co-types come from South Australia, and, as was often the case in the old days, the pernicious method of giving more than one locality for the type (e.g., Marble Range and the Murray Scrub in the present case) was followed.

It is a dry country species, occurring sparsely in Western and South Australia (both States of comparatively low rainfall), in Victoria near the Murray, and in the western or drier portion of our own State. In Queensland it has recently (Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., xlvii, 1913) been recorded for the Jericho district. It is a species that should be further searched for.

I have it from the following New South Wales localities:— Abbott's Tank, near Balranald (C.J. McMaster); Lower Lachlan River, two specimens, respectively labelled "Smooth-barked tree," "Rough-barked tree" (correspondents of H. Deane); Condobolin (R.H. Cambage); Wyalong (H. Deane, J.G. Postlethwaite); Coolabah and Girilambone, with moderately narrow juvenile leaves (R.W. Peacock, J.L. Boorman, J.H.M.); Cobar (Rev. Dr. Woolls, R.H. Cambage, L. Abrahams, J L. Boorman); Wittagoona, near Cobar (L. Abrahams); Nymagee (Dr. J. Wharton Cox, J.L. Boorman); Mount Boppy (J.L. Boorman).

I shall be glad to receive specimens from other localities.


Plate 226: Red Mallee. (Eucalyptus oleosa, F.v.M.) Lithograph by Margaret Flockton.

  • A. Juvenile leaves from Coolabah, N.S.W.
  • B. Flowering twig from Mount Boppy, N.S.W.
  • C. Fruits from Mount Boppy.
  • D. Buds from Murat and Denial Bays, South Australia.
  • E. Fruits from Venus Harbour, South Australia.
  • F. Anthers.


Group of Mallee (E. oleosa). Gunbar, N.S.W. (E.B. Docker, photo.)

Eucalyptus oleosa. Parilla Forest, Pinnaroo District, South Australia. (W. Gill, photo.)

View showing Red Mallee (E. oleosa), Black Mallee (E. odorata) and Pines (Callitris). Nackara Forest Reserve, South Australia. (W. Gill, photo.)

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