Grey Box

Description

Common names

Grey Box, Western Grey Box, Gum-topped Box, Black Box, Box, Brown Box, Green-leaved Box, Gum Topped Box, Inland Box, Inland Grey Box, Narrow Leaved Box, Narrow-leaved Box, Narrow-leaved Grey Box, Southern Grey Box.

Scientific names

Eucalyptus microcarpa.

Family

Myrtaceae.

Genus

Eucalyptus.

Name origin

Microcarpa, from Greek micros, small, and carpos, fruit, referring to small fruit.

Rainfall

450mm.

Growth rate

Moderate.

Growth height

Up to 25m.

Presence in Australia

Widespread west of the Hume Highway on lower slopes and plains country.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA.

Habitat

Grassy woodland on moderately fertile loamy soils.

Habit

Tree to 25m high. Open crown of dull olive-green leaves. Grey, fibrous-flaky "box" bark with whitish patches, upper branches smooth-barked.

Similar species

Often confused with White Box (E. albens). Grey Box has greener and narrower leaves than White Box, and smaller buds and fruit.

Site preference

Heavy loamy soils. Tolerates moderately alkaline soil, frost, wind, infrequent flooding and extended dry periods.

Characteristics

Long-lived. Moderate growth rate.

Flowering

White, Feb-Jun. Flowers freely each year.

Seed collection

Throughout year, as seeds generally retained. Good crops may be irregular.

Propagation

From seed (±729 seeds per gram).

Regeneration

From seed, particularly in absence of competitive exotic grasses or weeds, during wet summers. Coppices vigorously from low stumps, and regrowth is long-lived. Establishes well when direct seeded.

Shade and shelter

Useful medium-level cover in windbreaks. Good shade due to spreading crown.

Land protection

Useful in gully erosion control behind fibrous-rooted understorey species.

Fuel

Very good.

Timber

Pale, very durable, tough and strong. Density about 1100 kg/m3. Used for posts, poles, fencing and heavy construction. Interesting furniture timber, although difficult to work.

Wildlife

Excellent habitat. Flowers are a food source for Sugar Gliders, Squirrel Gliders, native birds and insects. Insect-eating birds attracted. Hollows are nesting and refuge sites for native birds and mammals. Critical habitat for the Grey-crowned Babbler, Stone Curlew and goannas.

Ornamental

No outstanding features, although may be suitable for larger gardens and parks.

Other

Leaves produce a range of dyes depending on mordants used.