Friday, February 1, 2013

Hairy Rosewood

Dysoxylum rufum

A moderately large tree of rainforests on red volcanic soils, this lovely plant is most often found between the great Dividing Range and the coast. However it is found in the upper Condamine catchment, and may once have been more widespread in the rainforests in the Killarney area.

The specimen in Peacehaven Botanic Park is flowering at present. The young trees in this botanic park give us a good opportunity to see rainforest flowers at eye level. In the case of the hairy rosewood, a morning visit also allows us to appreciate their fragrance.

The flowers will develop into yellow capsules. They are very pretty, and split open to show red seeds, but are covered with short, stiff red-brown hairs. These make you itch, so should be handled (if at all) with care.

Notice that the flowers are also covered with fine hairs.

Unlike our other local rosewood (Dysoxylum fraseranum) to which it is related,  its timber not particularly valuable. It smells of onions, rather than roses, and is white with just as small core of red heartwood. In the past it was more likely to be used for making packing cases than furniture.

It is a potentially stately shade tree.

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