Eucalyptus astringens (Maiden) Maiden, Crit. Revis. Eucalyptus
7: 55 (1924) subsp. astringens.
E. occidentalis var. astringens Maiden, J. W. Austral.
Nat. Hist. Soc. 3: 186 (1911). T: Broomhill, W.A., Dec. 1909,
J.H.Maiden s.n.; holo: NSW; iso: K.
Mallet to 15 m tall, rarely to 25 m. Lignotuber absent.
Bark smooth throughout, pale shiny grey over salmon to brown,
but often with small curled flakes of dead bark adhering to lower
Banchlets with oil glands in the pith.
Juvenile growth (coppice or field seedlings to 50 cm):
stems rounded in cross-section; juvenile leaves always petiolate,
alternate, ovate-lanceolate, 6-10 cm long, 2-6 cm wide, dull, grey-green.
Adult leaves alternate, petioles 1-2.5 cm long; blade lanceolate,
rarely falcate, 6-14 cm long, (0.8)1-2.5(3.5) cm wide, base tapering
to petiole, margin entire, apex finely pointed, concolorous, green,
at least slightly glossy, side-veins at an acute or wider angle to
midrib, reticulation sparse to moderate (or sometimes dense) and clear,
intramarginal vein present, oil glands numerous, +/- round, island
Inflorescences axillary unbranched, spreading to pendulous,
peduncles narrowly to broadly flattened, 1.2-3.2 cm long; buds 7,
pedicellate, stubby to slightly elongated, swollen at or just below
the join, scar present (outer operculum shed early), inner operculum
horn-shaped but usually blunt, ca 1.2-2 times the length of the hypanthium,
stamens erect, anthers oblong, versatile, dorsifixed, dehiscing by
longitudinal slits, style long and straight, stigma blunt, locules
3 or 4, the placentae each with 4 vertical rows of ovules; flowers
cream to pale lemon.
Fruit pedicellate, cupular to campanulate or obconical, 0.6-1
cm wide, disc level at first then descending, valves 3 or 4, held
at rim level or slightly exserted.
Seed blackish brown, 1-2.5 mm long, ovoid to flattened-ovoid,
dorsal surface shallowly and clearly reticulate, hilum ventral.
Cultivated seedling (measured at node 10): cotyledons Y-shaped
(bisected); stems rounded in cross-section;
leaves always petiolate, opposite for 4 or 5 nodes then alternate,
deltoid to ovate, 4-8 cm long, 2-6.5 cm wide, dull, green to blue-green.
Eucalyptus astringens (Latin, astringens, astringent,
referring to extracts from the bark).
A mallet endemic to Western Australia, distributed south-east of Perth
from Brookton, south to near Albany and east to Hopetoun. The adult
leaves are glossy green.
Eucalyptus astringens belongs in Eucalyptus subgenus
Symphyomyrtus section Bisectae sub-section Glandulosae
because the buds have an operculum scar, cotyledons are bisected and
branchlets have oil glands in the pith. Within this large sub-section
(ca 80 species) Eucalyptus astringens is closely related to
a group of mallets and mallees (series Erectae subseries Pedicellatae)
recognised by the glossy green leaf surface, leaves with many oil
glands but not obscuring the secondary venation, peduncles long and
flattened or terete, inflorescences spreading to pendulous and buds
with operculum longer than the hypanthium and erect stamens arising
from a narrow staminophore.
Eucalyptus astringens is distinguished from its relatives by
its mallet habit, smooth bark and stubby, blunt buds with operculum
only 1 to 2 times the length of the hypanthium and its campanulate
fruit. E. thamnoides has similar buds but differs in the consistent
mallee habit. Other related species viz. the rough-butted tree of
freshwater creeks and depressions, E. occidentalis , rough-barked
mallee E. aspratilis , smooth-barked
mallee E. sporadica and rough-butted tree of saline sites,
E. sargentii , all have more slender buds with elongated opercula.
There are two subspecies:
It is always found on well-drained lateritic breakaways and occurs
from Brookton to near Albany.
subsp. redacta (Latin redactus, reduced, of habit,
buds and fruit compared to subsp. astringens).
A small mallet with smaller buds and fruits than in subsp. astringens,
occurring between Albany and Bremer Bay, on lateritic breakaways.
The timber of E. astringens is very hard and strong. The species
has been cultivated for use in tool handles, mining timber, farm purposes
and fuel. The bark has a high tannin content.