2. Mallee or shrub - a mallee is a
woody plant that is multistemmed from ground level and seldom taller
than 10 m. In eucalypts a shrub is a low growing and
reproductively mature plant, that may be less than 1 m tall, and
is usually growing in an extreme environment. There is no clear
distinction between mallee and shrub.
A mallee has at the base of the stems a woody structure, the
lignotuber, that has numerous dormant buds that enable vegetative
recovery after fire or other disturbance. The term mallee
is often applied to eucalypts and has wide currency in southern
Australia. Shrub is infrequently applied to eucalypts, good
examples being E. vernicosa
in high mountain areas of Tasmania, E.
yalatensis on the Nullarbor Plain and E.
surgens atop coastal cliffs at Toolinna Cove in Western
Australia. Smaller marlock plants are included here as well as below,
e.g. E. mcquoidii
which may be reproductive at about 0.4 m tall.
Mallee (top) or Shrub (bottom)
3. Mallet or marlock (only applies to Western
Australian species) - a mallet is a tree with a slender trunk
with branches steeply angled on it, and lacks both lignotuber and
epicormic buds (e.g. E.
astringens). A marlock is a single-stemmed shrub
or small tree with spreading branches that are densely leafy often
almost to the ground, and lacks a lignotuber (e.g. E.
platypus). Correctly used the character state mallet
or marlock has great discriminating value. Species with mallet
habit are also included in the character state Tree above.
Marlock, as here defined, is easily
understood whilst the plants are relatively small, but from 8 m
tall the distinction between marlock, mallet and tree is often unclear.
Marlock applies to relatively few species, but some are frequently
cultivated e.g. E.
platypus, E. conferruminata, growing taller than they do
in the wild.
Mallet (left) or Marlock (right)