Eucalyptus sweedmaniana

Common name: Sweedman’s Mallee

Family: MYRTACEAE

Origin of Scientific Name

Eucalyptus sweedmaniana predominantly flowers in summertime. Photo: L. Sweedman.View image slideshowEucalyptus – derived from the Greek eu, 'well' and calyptos, 'covered'; in reference to the flower-bud which has an operculum or cap.

sweedmaniana – named after Luke Sweedman, current Curator, Western Australian Seed Technology Centre in Kings Park.

Description

E.sweedmaniana is a sprawling to prostrate mallee (shrub) up to 1.5 m high and 5 m wide, with lignotuber. The bark is silver-grey, smooth and shiny when fresh. Mature leaves are green, glossy, broad-lanceolate, robust and angular and average 20 cm in length and 5.3 cm in width, with prominent venation and scattered intersectional oil glands. The inflorescences are axillary and unbranched, comprising shortly-winged and down-curved flowering stems bearing single flowers. Flower stalks are absent. The buds are red, pendulous and square in cross section, cuboid to shortly oblong, tapering towards the base, very slightly ribbed and very prominently winged. The stamens are 8 to 10 mm long and pink with a broadly pyramidal, red operculum. Staminodes (sterile stamens) are present. The fruits average 3.6 cm long and 3.4 cm wide, are square in cross-section, cuboid to shortly oblong and very prominently winged. There are four enclosed valves. Seeds are dark grey, 4 to 5 mm x 3 to 4 mm x 1.5 mm, and flanged.

Distribution

Coastal heath on calcareous and acidic sands. Confined to the lower coastal slopes of the Mount Arid granitic massif, which projects into the Southern Ocean as a prominent peninsula east of Esperance, south-west Western Australia. Refer to the distribution map for this species via the Department of Parks and Wildlife's FloraBase online herbarium.

Flowering Season

Spasmodic flowering throughout the year, mainly in summer.

Cultivation/Propagation

Eucalyptus sweedmaniana is established in Kings Park and Botanic Garden generated from a seed source within the Kings Park nursery. Once these parent plants establish and produce domesticated seeds, the unusual species will be available more widely for horticultural use.

Notes

The single known population of Eucalyptus sweedmaniana is in Cape Arid National Park and is therefore not currently under threat from loss of habitat. However, inappropriate fire management regimes involving frequent autumn burns may threaten survival of the population.

View in Kings Park

This species can be viewed in the gardens surrounding the Kings Park Administration Building, off Fraser Avenue.