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cult. E Fremantle, WA

E Mt Barren, WA

buds, fruits

adult leaves

Natural populations

Natural occurrences of this species are restricted to coastal and subcoastal parts of southern Western Australia, including offshore islands near Esperance such as Mondrain and Middle Islands [1,2]. On the mainland populations are usually found within 50 km of the coast. Eucalyptus utilis is a non-lignotuberous, relatively short-lived eucalypt, up to 8 m tall. Natural populations grow in the vicinity of low-lying areas on alkaline sands, sandy clays or sandy loams, derived from limestone or alluvia [1]. This species was formerly known as E. platypus var. heterophylla [1,2].

Flowering and seeds

Eucalyptus utilis flowers during December to January [1,3]. Seed capsules persist on trees until at least the following summer. There are about 220 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 7 days if grown at 15-20°C with no pretreatment required [3].

Cultivation and uses

Eucalyptus utilis is a fast growing, small tree which under cultivation it develops a spreading and densely foliaged crown. The relatively small stature of this species makes it an ideal urban shade or amenity tree in areas where large trees pose problems. It grows extremely well on near coastal sites that have alkaline, sandy soils. On favourable sites it establishes rapidly and has excellent potential to provide a windbreak or sheltbelt for stock on rural properties [1], particularly in areas where strong coastal winds are prevalent. It is considered salt tolerant [4].

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall (mm): 450-700 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: winter
Mean annual temperature: 15-18 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 26-27 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: 6-7 °C
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)
Altitude: 0-200 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be tolerant of protracted droughts
Fire: killed by damaging fire does not regenerate foliage
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak, tolerates salt-laden coastal winds
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam or sand
Soil pH reaction: neutral (6.5-7.5) or alkaline (greater than 7.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage: well-drained
Salinity: slightly to moderately saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: alkalinity
Extremes in texture: sand
Salinity: moderate (-8 dS m-1) or slight (2-4 dS m-1)
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen tree 5-10 m tall, usually produces a clear trunk
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: fast
Coppicing ability: nil or negligible
Root system: moderate to deep or shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for sandy sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes), tolerates salty coastal winds
Wood density: mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: moderate
Uses
Potential farm use: excellent windbreak, 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, ideal maintenance free street tree or suitable as a screen or hedge
Wildlife value: flowers are especially attractive to birds
Wood products: high quality fuelwood, industrial charcoal, posts (including fencing)
Potentially undesirable attributes
Fire sensitivity: killed by severe fires (seeder)
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] 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]

[4] Marcar NE, Crawford DF (2004) Trees for Saline Landscapes. RIRDC Publication Number 03/108, Canberra. NOTE: E. utilis is treated under E. platypus in this book.

Internet links

FloraBase Western Australian Herbarium: http://florabase.calm.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/18085

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