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Pith

Once sampled, a very handy and accessible feature is the pith of the branchlets. About half of the dry country mallees have a line of brown oil glands in the pith usually visible to the naked eye, while the remainder have a white or uniformly coloured, undifferentiated pith. This character is easily assessed in the field by pulling a side branchlet away from the main axis. Pith glands, if present, will be most conspicuous at the nodes so this is where the character should be sought for its presence or absence. The character does not apply to any species of the eastern tablelands and mountains. These do not have glands in the pith.

Pith gland absence or presence is a character of high though not absolute reliability and is a particularly useful character to help identify South Australian and Western Australian species.

 

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