swamp mahogny

Swamp Mahogany

Plant of the Month

Original illustration of Eucalyptus robusta by James Sowerby (from Wikepedia)

Eucalyptus robusta

A firm favourite of the Koala, the Swamp Mahogany loves wet feet as it’s common name indicates. Common in coastal swamps and wet forests the Swamp Mahogany has a natural range from about Rockhampton in Queensland to Jervis Bay in New South Wales.  It is an important winter-flowering species in eastern Australia as it provides a good supply of nectar at a time of year when there are few other such resources for many species including the Regent honeyeater, Grey headed flying fox, and gliders.

The Swamp Mahogany was one of the earliest described Eucalypts being described in 1793 by Sir James Edward Smith, the specific epithet “robusta” is in reference to it’s robust appearance (sometimes the botanical names do make sense) whereas the common name “mahogany” refers to the similarity of the timber to West Indies Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni).

Original illustration of Eucalyptus robusta by James Sowerby (from Wikepedia)

Illustration and photo from Plantnet (http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au)

Swamp Mahogany is a tree to 30 metres in height, thick, spongy brown bark, leaves broad lanceolate to elliptic, 8.5 to 17cm long, 2.5 to 7 cm wide, dark glossy green with the underside of the leaf lighter than the top (“discolorous”), the stems and branchlets are often red, inflorescence 7 to more than 11 flowered with the fruits cylindrical 10 to 18mm long, 6 to 11mm diameter.