Thursday, June 14, 2012

Narrow Leafed Ironbark

Eucalyptus crebra

Winter is the usual flowering time for this, our most common ironbark. These blossoms, found between Maclagan and the Bunya Mountains last weekend, are earlier than we usually expect.

The flowers are small, though plentifully produced. These are not trees that people would plant for the ornamental qualities of their flowers, but they do a valuable job of  providing nectar for insects at a time of year when it might otherwise be more difficult to find. It is a valuable winter source of nectar for bees, and produces a light-coloured honey with a delicate flavour.

The strength which makes them useful timber trees also means that ironbarks do not have the limb-dropping habit which has given Eucalypts a bad reputation in some circles. (In fact the “widow-makers” - those trees which have an unpredictable tendency to drop large limbs, comprise relatively few of the over 700 Eucalyptus species.) The hard, heavy, durable red timber of this species is used for outdoor construction purposes.

Ironbarks have a reputation as our best firewood trees, and this one is a good species to plant for the purpose. It is fast-growing where growing conditions are good, and coppices well as shown in this photo.

Coppicing (cutting a tree about 20cm above the ground) is a good practice in a woodlot, producing future crops of timber in relatively little time. The resulting multi-stemmed trees are smaller than single-trunked specimens, so coppicing is an effective way of converting a too-large tree into something more suitable for certain situations.

This hardy tree grows on a variety of soils (including poor ones), and tolerates frost and drought.
It is a koala food tree.


Anonymous said...

I bet that photo was taken at the Cooyar rd intersection


Patricia Gardner said...

Yes indeed! You know the place. Opposite where the cattle are fed, and the wood ducks come.

Anonymous said...

I have been meaning to stop and take a photo as well