|Mature tuart, Lake Clifton, Western Australia|
The tree is native to the southwest of Western Australia and typically grows to height of 10 to 40 metres (33 to 131 ft). Taller trees are often found at the southern end of the trees range while smaller trees are found at the northern end. The crown of the tree can spread up to a width of 25 metres (82 ft).
The tuart has box-like rough bark through the length of the trunk to small twigs. The bark is fibrous and grey in colour and breaks into smaller flaky pieces. Leaves are stalked, alternate, with a lanceolate or falcate shape. The leaves are slightly discolorous to concolorous, glossy, light green and thin. The leaf blade is 90 to 160 millimetres (3.5 to 6.3 in) in length and often curved. White flowers appear in mid summer to mid autumn between January to April. Buds that are almost stalkless appear as clusters in groups of seven. The buds have swollen caps and are shaped like little ice cream cones with a cap that is around 8 to 10 mm (0.31 to 0.39 in) long. The flowers are formed in tight clusters made up of around seven flowers. These later form into fruits with a mushroom shape containing small red-brown seeds. The fruits are narrow and 13 to 25 mm (0.51 to 0.98 in) in length with a broad rim.
The tree is moderately salt tolerant and will tolerate salt-laden winds. It is also drought and frost tolerant.
The species was first formally described bu the botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1828 as part of the work Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis. There are two synonyms for the species; Eucalyptus gomphocephala DC. var. gomphocephala described by William Blakely and Eucalyptus gomphocephala var. rhodoxylon as desctibed by Blakely & Henry Steedman both recorded in Anderson's 1939 work Additions to the Australian Myrtaceae as published in Contributions from the New South Wales National Herbarium.
The species name derives from the bud cap gompho meaning club and cephala meaning head referring to the shape of the bud.
The distribution range of the species is a narrow coastal corridor within the Swan Coastal Plain, extending inland 5 to 10 kilometres (3.1 to 6.2 mi), a continuous strip south from Yanchep to Busselton. Outlying patches of the tree are found to the north of Yanchep as far as Geraldton and further inland where rivers intersect the range. The species has become naturalised in other places.
The trees are part of coastal shrubland ecosystems in areas of deep sand. They also will often be part of limited woodland communities in protected areas along the coast. When it occurs in woodland or open forest it is often associated with peppermint trees (Agonis flexuosa) in the understorey.
As a durable hardwood the timber is sought after for scantlings, structural timber, the construction of railway carriages, and boat building. The colouring and grain pattern of the timber also makes it a popular choice for furniture manufactures. Due to over-logging the tuart is a protected tree with conditions placed on logging.
The heartwood is a pale yellow-brown colour with a fine texture and a very interlocked grain. The green wood has a density of 1,250 kilograms per cubic metre (78 lb/cu ft) and an air-dried density of 1,030 kilograms per cubic metre (64 lb/cu ft).
Specimen in Kings Park
- "Noongar names for plants". kippleonline.net. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "Eucalyptus gomphocephala". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
- "Eucalyptus gomphocephala". Australian Seed. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Eucalyptus gomphocephala Tuart" (PDF). Cambridge Coast Care. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Tuart Identification" (PDF). Trigg Bushalnd Organisation. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Eucalyptus gomphocephala DC". Atlas of Living Australia. Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- "Tuart Eucalyptus gomphocephala". Forest Products Commission. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Bryant, Geoff (2005) Australian Native Plants Random House ISBN 978-1-74166-030-2
- Johnston, Judith (1993) The History of the Tuart Forest - pp. 136–153 in de Garis, B.K. (editor) Portraits of the South West: Aborigines, Women and the Environment Nedlands, W.A. University of Western Australia Press ISBN 1-875560-12-2
- Tuart Response Group (W.A.) (2003) An Atlas of Tuart woodlands on the Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia Perth, W. Aust.:Dept. of Conservation and Land Management (coordinated by a multi-disciplinary steering group chaired by the Department of Conservation and Land Management"
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