|Red mahogany at Chatswood West, New South Wales, Australia|
Eucalyptus resinifera (L. resinifera = "resin bearing"), known as the Red mahogany, is a common eucalyptus tree of eastern Australia. Its range of distribution is from Jervis Bay north to about Gladstone, Queensland in dry sclerophyll or wet sclerophyll forest habitats, preferring soils of a medium to high fertility.
Bark and foliage
E. resinifera bark is reddish brown, persisting to the smaller branches and somewhat stringy.
Flowers and fruit
White flowers occur from October to February.
The fruits are gumnuts, which are hemispherical or ovoid in shape, 5 to 11 mm long, 5 to 10 mm in diameter wide and borne on relatively long stems. The disc is flat or raised and the valves are exserted, prominently pointing out of the gumnut. The prominent operculi (and slightly furrowed bark) distinguish Red mahogany from other stringybarks.
There are two subspecies of Red mahogany; E. resinifera subs. resinifera, which grows north from Jervis Bay to the Mid North Coast of New South Wales; and E. resinifera subs. hemilampra, which grows north from Kempsey.
A characteristic difference between subspecies can be seen in their operculi (caps) which cover the flower buds: in subspecies hemilampra (Gk. hemi = "half", lampra = "lustrous"; refers to glossy upper leaf surface) they are particularly long - more than three times the length of its hypanthium. The operculi of the more southerly resinifera are smaller. The operculi resemble dunce caps, and some become curved and horn-like.
The timber of Red mahogany is well regarded for its high quality, being very hard and heavy, and having dark-red heartwood. It has multiple uses including flooring, panelling, cladding, boat building, railroad ties and general construction. It is also a good choice for making poles and charcoal.
E. resinifera has been exported for use as a crop plant on plantations in varying locales in Africa (Madagascar, South Africa and Zimbabwe), Western Europe (Italy and Portugal), and the U.S. (Hawaiian Islands).
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