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Eucalyptus albens


White box


Eucalyptus albens Benth., Fl. Austral. 3: 219 (1867).

E. hemiphloia var. albens (Benth.) Maiden, Forest Fl. New South Wales 1: 131 (1904).

T: Macquarie R., N.S.W., Aug. 1817, A.Cunningham 198; syn: BM, K; New England, N.S.W., C.Stuart s.n.; syn: K, MEL; between Alfords and the Range, N.S.W., 17 June 1843, L.Leichhardt s.n.; syn: MEL; between Ten Mile Ck & Broken R., Vic., F.Mueller s.n. ; syn: K, MEL.

E. albens var. elongata Blakely, Key Eucalypts 237 (1934). T: Mt Topper State Forest, N.S.W., Oct. 1923, L.B. Peacocke s.n.; holo: NSW.

Tree to 25 m tall. Forming a lignotuber.
Bark rough on most or all of trunk and base of large branches, rarely extending to branches < 8 cm diam., box type, often becoming tessellated, pale grey or mottled grey and white patches, smooth bark of branches predominantly white, sometimes grey, or tinged orange, pink or salmon.
Branchlets usually glaucous, pith oil glands rarely present.
Juvenile growth (coppice or field seedlings to 50 cm): stem rounded or square in cross-section, glaucous or non-glaucous; juvenile leaves alternate, petiolate, orbicular, deltoid or ovate, 5-10.5 cm long, 5-10 cm wide, margin entire, blue-green, grey-green, or blue-grey or glaucous.
Adult
leaves alternate, petiolate, 1.2-3 cm long; blade lanceolate to ovate, 7-16.5 cm long, 1.7-4.3 cm wide, base tapering to petiole, margin entire, concolorous, dull, blue-green, grey-green, blue-grey to glaucous,
side-veins mostly greater than 45° to midrib, densely to very densely reticulate, intramarginal vein parallel to and just within margin or well removed from it, oil glands mostly intersectional or obscure.
Inflorescences terminal panicles or axillary unbranched, peduncles 0.8-1.8 cm long; buds 7, pedicellate or sessile, fusiform, often slightly curved, glaucous or sometimes green, slightly angled, scar absent, operculum conical, stamens irregularly flexed, anthers cuboid, adnate to filament, dehiscing by broad lateral pores, style long, locules 3 or 4(5) each with 4 vertical ovule rows; flowers white.
Fruit pedicellate or sessile, cylindrical, urceolate or barrel-shaped, 0.5-1 cm wide, often slightly angled longitudinally, glaucous or non-glaucous, disc descending, valves 3 or 4(5), enclosed.
Seed blackish, brown or grey, 1-2 mm long, irregularly flattened-ovoid, sometimes pointed at one end, lacunose or not, dorsal surface smooth or shallowly pitted, hilum ventral.

Cultivated seedlings (measured at ca node 10): cotyledons reniform to oblong; stems rounded or squared in cross-section, usually glaucous; leaves always petiolate, opposite for 3 to 5 nodes then alternate, orbicular to ovate, 5-10.5 cm long, 3-7.5 cm wide, base rounded or truncate, grey-green to glaucous.


NOTES

Eucalyptus albens (Latin albens, white, of the general appearance of the tree and the white wax on the flower buds and fruits).

A small to medium-sized box tree occuring from south-eastern Queensland throughout the western slopes of New South Wales to eastern Victoria, with a small population near Melrose in the southern Flinders Range of South Australia. It has extensive pale to whitish box bark, large juvenile leaves that are grey to glaucous and pendulous, dull adult leaves that are greyish to glaucous and elongated usually glaucous buds. These features distinguish it from other box trees. In addition it occurs on more elevated, stony sites than does the related box tree E. microcarpa .

Eucalyptus albens belongs in Eucalyptus subgenus Symphyomyrtus section Adnataria (the boxes) because the buds have two opercula, ovules are in four rows, seeds are flattened-ovoid, cotyledons are reniform, and anthers are rigid on the staminal filaments. Within section Adnataria, E. albens is part of a subgroup, series Buxeales subseries Continentes, further distinguished by having buds that retain the outer operculum until flowering time when both opercula are shed together. Most species in this group are from eastern Australia and have all stamens fertile and are woodland trees of hills and plains, often dominant in the landscape viz. E. albens, E. moluccana , E. microcarpa and E. pilligaensis . Others, viz. E. viridis , E. polybractea , E. froggattii , E. odorata , E. albopurpurea , E. "illucens" and E. porosa are mallees, some of them also occurring as small trees occasionally.


USES

Heavy engineering construction, poles, railway sleepers, fencing, fuel and honey.