|| Eucalyptus has been regarded
as one of the two defining plant genera of Australia, along with Acacia
(wattle). Eucalyptus has even been designated the universal
Australian, an assertion that may arise from three significant
facts. Firstly, eucalypts are found right across the continent in
a wide range of vegetation types and environments; secondly, they
are relatively infrequent as natives beyond Australian shores; and,
thirdly, they are species rich. For most Australians who live
near the coastline of southern Australia another reason for
regarding Eucalyptus as quintessentially Australian is that
eucalypts are the tallest and most obvious plants of the native vegetation
they see all around them. They clothe the water catchments, forestry
reserves and conservation areas. They adorn private and public parks.
Eucalypts manifest an array of forms, colours and fragrances but differences between species, even when growing in the same area, seem to non-experts to be subtle, obscure, challenging or even unrecognisable. That is why this package is so important, so valuable. Presented here are not only the characteristics of 690 species of southern Australia (including Tasmania!) but the most user-friendly way of distinguishing between them. This presentation allows you to cut through the multitude of alternatives very quickly using the multi-entry key and colour images to arrive at the identity of any eucalypt found in its native habitat in this vast region. It even allows you to use the location in which you found the species as an entry point into the classification.
The technical authors of this work are highly skilled and well known in the field of eucalypt taxonomy. Ian Brooker has devoted a lifetime's career to the subject while Andrew Slee and John Connors have two decades of eucalypt experience between them. Thus this package is an authentic, up-to-date presentation of the eucalypts (including Angophora) for southern Australia.
The package comes with useful commentaries on eucalypts, a glossary and a tutorial. The full colour presentation is a tribute to the authors and the graphic designer, Siobhan Duffy.
A. Malcolm Gill