Eucalyptus alba

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White gum
Eucalyptus alba.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Eucalyptus
Species: E. alba
Binomial name
Eucalyptus alba
Reinw. ex Blume

Eucalyptus alba, or white gum, is a species of Eucalyptus which is native to Australia, Timor, and New Guinea. A dominant tree of open woodland, it reaches 18 m (60 ft) high with a spread of up to 15 m (50 ft).

Taxonomy[edit]

Eucalyptus alba was first described in 1826 by Carl Ludwig Blume, after being discovered by Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt on Timor.[1] The specific epithet is the Latin word albus "white" and relates to the bark. Within the genus Eucalyptus, it belongs in the subgenus Symphyomyrtus.[2] Common names include white gum, poplar gum, khaki gum, wongoola, salmon gum and Timor white gum.[1]

Description[edit]

It grows as a small to medium tree from 5 to 18 m (15-60 ft) high with a spreading crown of 5 to 15 m (15-50 ft). The short trunk is often bent and has smooth grey to white powdery bark. Freshly-exposed new bark is pink.[2] The leathery ovate grey-green juvenile leaves are alternately arranged along the stems and measure 10-20 cm (4-8 in) long by 8-12 cm (2.2-4.8 in) wide. The adult leaves are ovate to lanceolate in shape and measure 5-12 cm (2-4.8 in) long by 5-8 cm (2-3.2 in) wide. The white flowers appear from August to November and can be profuse.[2]

The related Eucalyptus bigalerita is similar in appearance, but has larger leaves, buds and seed pods, and is found in alluvial flats.[3]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

A dominant tree in open woodlands, it is found from northeastern Western Australia across the Top End and into Queensland, as well as New Guinea and Timor.[2][4] It is often found on ridges and elevated areas,[3] often on poor soil.[2]

Uses[edit]

Eucalyptus alba has horticutural appeal as a small ornamental tree,[2] and can also attract birds.[5] It has also been used for fencing in northern Australia, while the flowers have been used in the beekeeping industry for honey.[2] It was valued by aborigines in the Northern Territory for firewood.[3]

See also[edit]

Flowering Eucalyptus alba in East Timor

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Eucalyptus alba Reinw. ex Blume". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Elliot, Rodger W.; Jones, David L. (1986). "Eu-Go". In Elliot,Eliot, Rodger W. & Jones, David L. Encyclopaedia of Australian Plants suitable for cultivation 4. Lothian Publishing. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0-85091-213-X. 
  3. ^ a b c Brock, John (2001) [1988]. Native plants of northern Australia. Frenchs Forest, New South Wales: New Holland Press. pp. 152, 156. ISBN 1-876334-67-3. 
  4. ^ "Eucalyptus alba". FloraBase. Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Western Australia. 
  5. ^ "White Gum (Eucalyptus alba)". Waterwise Plant Selector. The State of Queensland (Department of Natural Resources and Mines). 25 January 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2014.