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Eucalyptus argutifolia


Wabling Hill mallee

Eucalyptus argutifolia Grayling & Brooker, Nuytsia 8: 215 (1992).

T: Parrot Ridge, N of Yanchep, Western Australia, 31
°29'S, 115°44'E, 9 Apr. 1987, M.I.H.Brooker 9581 & S.D.Hopper; holo: PERTH; iso: AD, CANB, MEL, MEL, NSW.

Mallee to 4 m tall. Forming a lignotuber.
Bark smooth throughout, grey to pale coppery.
Branchlets with pith glands restricted to nodes.
Juvenile growth (coppice or field seedlings to 50 cm): stems rounded to squared in cross-section, smooth; juvenile leaves always petiolate, opposite for very few nodes then alternate, orbicular to ovate or deltoid, 4-7 cm long, 3-5.5 cm wide, base rounded to tapering, apex rounded to broadly pointed, green, glossy.
Adult leaves alternate, petioles 1.8-2.5 cm long
; blade broadly lanceolate to lanceolate, 7.3-12 cm long, 1.2-3 cm wide, (most herbarium specimens, and therefore plants, appear to have intermediate leaves with fully adult leaves being to 12 cm long and < 2cm wide), base tapering to petiole, margin entire, apex pointed, concolorous, glossy, green, side-veins at an acute or wider angle to midrib, reticulation very dense, intramarginal vein present, oil glands mostly intersectional.
Inflorescences axillary unbranched, peduncles stout, 0.5-1.5 cm long; buds 7 or 9 (rarely 11), almost sessile or pedicellate, ovoid to obovoid, scar present, operculum rounded and as wide as hypanthium, stamens inflexed, anthers cuboid to wedge-shaped, versatile, dorsifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits, style long and straight, stigma more or less rounded, locules 4 or 5, the placentae each with 4 vertical rows of ovules; flowers white.
Fruit sessile or pedicellate, cylindrical to cupular-obconical, 0.7-0.8 cm wide, slightly ribbed or not, disc descending, valves 4 or 5, to rim level.
Seed red and glossy, 1.5-3.2 mm long, flattened-ovoid and somewhat angular in outline, dorsal surface often lacunose, shallowly reticulate, hilum ventral.

Cultivated seedling (measured at ca node 10): cotyledons reniform; stems squared in cross-section; leaves always petiolate, opposite for 4 to 7 nodes then alternate, ovate, 3.5-8 cm long, 3-4.5 cm wide, dull, green.
 

NOTES

Eucalyptus argutifolia (Latin, argutifolius, bright-leaved, referring to the shiny adult leaves).

A mallee endemic to Western Australia and known from north of Yanchep, a northern suburb of Perth, on Wabling Hill, Parrot Ridge and also south of the coastal town of Seabird; of near-coastal distribution on limestone. The bark is smooth and the adult leaves are glossy green.

Eucalyptus argutifolia belongs in Eucalyptus sub-genus Symphyomyrtus section Dumaria because the buds have two opercula, stamens are strongly inflexed, ovules are in 4 rows on the placentae and cotyledons are reniform. Within section Dumaria, E. argutifolia belongs to a large sub-group of closely related species (series Rufispermae) diagnosed by glandular pith in the branchlets, cuboid-wedge shaped anthers and by the lustrous, ruby-red flattish seeds.

Eucalyptus argutifolia is probably most closely related to E. phenax from which it differs by the broader juvenile leaves, broader glossier adult leaves and buds with blunter opercula. No other closely related species (i.e. in series Rufispermae) occurs in this coastal area, however the glaucous E. sheathiana occurs to the east near Wongan Hills and the coarser and often glaucous E. obtusiflora occurs in coastal and sub-coastal areas to the north.