Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus polybractea
Myrtaceae
Flinders Ranges Mallee Box
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Adelaide
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Coober Pedy
Hawker
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Etymology

Eucalyptus from the Greek 'eu' meaning well and 'calyptos' meaning covered, alluding to the cap or lid which covers the stamens in the bud. Polybractea from the Greek 'poly' meaning many and 'bractea' meaning bracts, referring to the numerous bracts around the buds at an early stage of their development.

Distribution and status

Found in the northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia growing on slopes and ridges of rocky hills and ranges in mallee shrubland. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in the other States.
Herbarium region: Flinders Ranges
NRM region: South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-trunked mallee to 8 m high with rough, thin, hard-fibrous, grey to dark grey-brown bark on the lower stems and smooth, coppery to pale grey to cream above. Juvenile leaves linear to narrow-lanceolate; waxy, dull grey-green. Adult leaves to 160 mm long and 15 mm wide; linear to narrow-lanceolate, sometimes waxy, dull blue-green to grey-green. Flowers in groups of 7-9 in leaf axils, held erect. Buds to 7 mm long and 4 mm wide, waxy; bud-cap cone-shaped equal in length to the base. Flower white appearing in autumn to spring. Fruits are barrel-shaped to cup-shaped fruit to 6 mm long and 6 mm wide, waxy; disc descending, valves 4 below the rim. Seeds are orange-brown ovoid seed to 0.4 mm long and 0.3 mm wide, with reticulated surface. Seed embryo type is folded.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect mature fruits that are dark and hard (difficult to break with a finger nail), with the valves un-open any time of year. Leave the fruits in a breathable container in a dry room for one to two weeks. This allows the valves on the fruit to open and release the seeds. Separate the seeds by placing all the materials into a bucket and shaking it to dislodge the seeds. Pass the material through a sieve to separate the unwanted material. The finer material will contain both seeds (soft) and frass (hard) usually distinguishable from each other but can be very similar in shape and colour. With finer sieves, the seeds can be separated from the frass but this is not essential for storage or propagation. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 90% to 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
8,200 (1.8 g)
8,200 (1.8 g)
156-Jul-2006TEE17
Flinders Ranges
1-Aug-200790%-18°C
BGA790 (0.6 g)6-Jun-2006PJA134
Flinders Ranges
1-Aug-2007100%-18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.