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Natural populations

Eucalyptus polyanthemos has three subspecies [1,2]:

These are woodland trees usually around 15-25 m tall, which inhabit undulating terrain comprising stony or gravelly clays.

Flowering and seeds

This species flowers during spring to early summer [1,3,4]. Seed capsules persist on trees until at least the following autumn. There are about 575 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 5 days if grown at 25°C with no pretreatment required [4].

Cultivation and uses

Eucalyptus polyanthemos is an attractive tree and has been used in amenity plantings. Remnant trees of this species play an important role in shelter for stock and in preventing erosion. The wood of this species is very dense, makes excellent firewood and is in strong demand for this purpose throughout its range. The wood is strong, durable, dries slowly but is difficult to season; it is resistant to termites and has been for fencing [1].

Key descriptors:
Subsp. polyanthemos:
Climate parameters

Mean annual rainfall: 450-800 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 9-17 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 23-30 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -1-4 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): up to 20 or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or severe or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: 100-800 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam

Subsp. longior:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 800-1100 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform
Frosts (approx. no. per year): frost free or more or less frost free or up to 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C)
Mean annual temperature: 10-16 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 22-25 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 2-4 °C
Altitude: 120-450 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam

Subsp. vestita:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 450-800 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: uniform or winter
Mean annual temperature: 9-17 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 23-30 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -1-4 °C
Frosts (approx. no. per year): up to 20 or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or severe or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Altitude: 120-800 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant or known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Tolerance of adverse soils
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)

Descriptors in common:
Soil factors
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5) or 2. neutral (6.5-7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained
Salinity: non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in texture: clayey
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen trees 15-25 m tall, usually producing a clear trunk
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant or known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: moderate or slow
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding; lignotuberous
Root system: moderate to deep or shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate
Uses
Potential farm use: good for fence posts, good ornamental attributes, shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: flowers produce nectar for honey production, pollen has value for apiculture
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant or ideal maintenance free street tree
Wildlife value: flowers are especially attractive to birds
Wood products: craftwood (for turnery etc.), heavy construction, high quality fuelwood, industrial charcoal, panelling, posts (including fencing), speciality timber for quality furniture, termite resistant
Potentially undesirable attributes
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants

References

[1] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[2] Slee AV, Connors J, Brooker MIH, Duffy SM, West JG (2006) EUCLID Eucalypts of Australia. Third Edition CD ROM Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

[3] Clemson A (1985) Honey and Pollen Flora. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

[4] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at http://www.ensisjv.com/Portals/0/atsc-opmanualcomplete.pdf  Accessed March 2008]

Internet links

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eucalyptus~polyanthemos

Victorian Department of Primary Industry: http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/ [Search site as several documents may relate to this species.]

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