Plant of the Month - Ironbarks

Plant of the Month: Ironbarks

Fauna, Newsletters, Plant of the Month, The Scoop

It was the man from Ironbark who struck the Sydney town,

He wandered over street and park, he wandered up and down.

He loitered here, he loitered there, till he was like to drop,

Until at last in sheer despair he sought a barber’s shop.

“‘Ere! shave my beard and whiskers off, I’ll be a man of mark,

I’ll go and do the Sydney toff up home in Ironbark.”

The Man from Ironbark. Banjo Paterson.

Another easily recognisable group of Eucalypts are the Ironbarks with their hard, dark, furrowed bark and hard dense timber. The ironbarks are used for heavy construction, fenceposts and firewood and produce a dark honey.

The Hunter has 12 species of Ironbark, some occurring in only small areas, in particular the endangered Broken Back Ironbark (Eucalyptus fracta) and Pokolbin Ironbark (E. caladissima) being restricted to around the Broken Back Range at Pokolbin.

  1.   1. Mallee to 8m (Broken Back Range, Cessnock LGA)  

                            Eucalyptus fracta, Broken Back Ironbark

1*. Trees  …………………… 2

  1. Juvenile and or adult leaves leaves opposite ……..3

2* Juvenile leaves alternate ………….4

  1. Juvenile leaves opposite for several pairs then alternate (Broken Back Range, Cessnock LGA)

                                      Eucalyptus calidissima , Pokolbin Ironbark  

3* Juvenile leaves opposite after 13th node, adult leaves opposite (Gundy, Widden, Cassilis, Upper Hunter LGA)

                                      Eucalyptus melanophloia , Silver-leaved Ironbark

Eucalyptus melanophloia buds 3

Eucalyptus melanophloia buds

Eucalyptus crebra flower - Hunter Region Landcare Network - 1

Eucalyptus crebra flower

    1. Adult leaves discolorous (different colour on each side of the leaf)……5

    4* Adult leaves concolorous (same colour on each side of the leaf) …..6

    1. Adult leaves strongly discolorous, glossy green to dull green

                                             Eucalyptus paniculata , Grey Ironbark      

    5* Adult leaves weakly discolorous, juvenile leaves glossy green

                                              Eucalyptus placita , Grey Ironbark

    1. Adult leaves greater than 2cm wide

    6* Adult leaves less than 2cm wide…… 8

    1. Adult leaves 5-10cm long, lanceolate to ovate. Glaucous, Denman to Bylong and Wollar

                                          Eucalyptus caleyi, Caley’s Ironbark

    7* Adult leaves 12-18cm long, grey-green, dull to semi glossy

                                         Eucalyptus fibrosa , Red Ironbark

    1. Fruit 3-6mm diameter …..9

    8* Fruit greater than 5mm diameter…..10

    1. 7 flowered, sparse island oil glands in leaf, flowers August to November south & west of Hunter River

                                           Eucalyptus beyeriana , Beyer’s Ironbark

    9* 7-11 flowered, island oil glands apparently absent, flowers May-August,

                                           Eucalyptus crebra narrow-leaved ironbark, muggago (D’harawal)

  1. 10, 7-11 flowered, fruit hemispherical or conical, 6-11mm long, 6-9mm diameter, leaves grey-green or glaucous, narrow-lanceolate or lanceolate, 8–16 cm long, 1.4–3 cm wide, sandy infertile soils Cessnock to Merriwa. 

                                           Eucalyptus nubilis , Blue-leaved Ironbark

Eucalyptus nubila fruit 4 - Hunter Region Landcare

Eucalyptus nubilis fruit

Eucalyptus sideroxylon flowers 2

Eucalyptus sideroxylon flowers

All photos by Paul Melehan

10* 7 flowered ………11

      1. Fruit conical, 5–8 mm long, 5–7 mm diam, Adult leaves, lanceolate or broad-lanceolate, 8–15 cm long, 1–2 cm wide, green or grey-green, dull, concolorous, moderate fertility soils coastward from app Singleton

                                       Eucalyptus siderophloia , Grey Ironbark

11* Fruit globose, hemispherical or ovoid, 5–11 mm long, 5–9 mm diam. Adult leaves, lanceolate, 7–14 cm long, 1. 2–1.8 cm wide, green or grey-green, dull, concolorous Poor soils, inland from around Singleton

                                       Eucalyptus sideroxylon , Mugga Ironbark