Red Box

Description

Common names

Red Box, Poplar Box.

Scientific names

Eucalyptus polyanthemos.

Family

Myrtaceae.

Genus

Eucalyptus.

Name origin

Polyanthemos, from Greek poly, many, and anthemon, flower, referring to the many flower buds in each panicle.

Rainfall

500mm.

Growth rate

Moderate.

Growth height

Up to 20m.

Presence in Australia

Widespread in most catchments and districts on slopes and rises.

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

Habitat

Grassy or sclerophyll woodland on light, shallow soils.

Habit

Tree to 20m high with short trunk and dense spreading crown of rounded dull grey-green or blue-green leaves. "Box" bark on trunk and larger branches.

Site preference

Well-drained soil. Tolerates frost and wind. Moderately drought tolerant.

Characteristics

Moderate growth rate.

Flowering

White, cream or pinkish, Sep-Dec. Profuse.

Seed collection

Early Mar to late Jun. Monitor seed-bearing capsules as seeds shed after maturity.

Propagation

From seed (±465 viable seeds per gram). Optimum germination temperature 320C.

Regeneration

From seed, particularly in absence of competitive exotic grasses or weeds, during wet summers. Regenerates well from lignotuber after fire, browsing or cutting. Establishes when direct seeded, but not vigorously.

Shade and shelter

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

Land protection

Useful for recharge areas as uses large volumes of ground-water.

Fuel

Excellent.

Timber

Red, fine-textured, interlocked grain. Hard, strong and durable. Density about 1020 kg/m3. Dries slowly. Difficult to season. Used in fencing, turning, and for poles. Apparently moderately termite resistant. Suitable woodlot species for firewood (coppices readily) and sawn farm timber. Suitable for high value knot-free furniture timber if planted at high densities and regularly pruned.

Wildlife

Excellent habitat. Flowers are a nectar source for various native birds and insects. Insect-eating birds attracted. Birds such as treecreepers and sittellas glean bark. Native birds eat seeds and fruits. Koalas occasionally eat foliage. Hollows are nesting sites for various native birds and mammals.

Ornamental

Shapely, attractive specimen, shade and street tree.

Other

Leaves produce range of dyes depending on mordants used. Leaves high in cineole, useful in medicine. In America and France, grown for producing cut foliage for cut flower trade.