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Eucalyptus caleyi subsp. ovendenii

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Ovenden's ironbark


Eucalyptus | Symphyomyrtus | Adnataria | Terminales | Rhodoxylon | Concolores

Eucalyptus caleyi Maiden subsp. ovendenii L.A.S.Johnson & K.D.Hill, Telopea Vol. 4: 246 (1991).

T: NSW, Northern Tablelands, 25 km NW of Torrington, 30 July 1979, P.F.Ovenden AGF 1322; holo: NSW.
Tree to 15 m tall. Forming a lignotuber.
Ironbark to small branches, grey, brown, or black, branchlets glaucous or non-glaucous.
Juvenile growth (coppice or field seedlings to 50 cm): stem rounded or square in cross-section, glaucous; juvenile leaves always petiolate, opposite for 3 to 6 nodes then alternate, orbicular to ovate or deltoid, 3–8 cm long, 1.7–7 cm wide, base tapering or truncate, glaucous.
Adult leaves alternate, petiole 1.3–2.5 cm long; blade lanceolate, 5–10 cm long, 1.5–4 cm wide, base tapering to petiole, concolorous, dull, grey-green or glaucous, side-veins greater than 45° to midrib, densely to very densely reticulate, intramarginal vein parallel to and just within margin, oil glands intersectional or obscure.
Inflorescence axillary unbranched, or sometimes terminal compound, peduncles 1–2.5 cm long, buds 7 per umbel, pedicels 0.7–1 cm long. Mature buds diamond-shaped to square in cross-section, ca 1 cm long, 0.6–0.7 cm wide, glaucous or reddish, with 4 longitudinal ribs, scar present, operculum conical, stamens inflexed, with outer staminodes, anthers adnate, positioned obliquely at filament tip, cuboid, dehiscing by terminal pores, style long, stigma blunt or pin-head shaped, locules 3 or 4, the placentae each with 4 vertical ovule rows. Flowers white, or yellow.
Fruit pedicellate (pedicels 0.5–1.1 cm long), square in cross-section and ± obconical, or barrel-shaped, 0.8–1.2 cm long, 0.6–0.9 cm wide, with 4 longitudinal ribs, glaucous, disc descending but may be concealed by staminophore, valves 3 or 4, enclosed.
Seeds grey or brown, 1–2.6 mm long, flattened-ovoid, often pointed at one end, dorsal surface shallowly pitted, hilum ventral.

Cultivated seedlings (measured at ca node 10): cotyledons bilobed; stems square in cross-section or slightly winged, glaucous or not; leaves always petiolate, opposite for 4 to 6 nodes then alternate, deltoid, ovate or orbicular, 4.5–7.5 cm long, 4.5–7.5 cm wide, base truncate to tapering, apex rounded, dull grey-green or slightly glaucous.
Flowering Time

Flowering has been recorded in July and September.


Eucalyptus caleyiis a small to medium-sized ironbark tree species of scattered distribution, usually on stony sites, from near Denman in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, north through the central and northern tablelands of New South Wales to the Inglewood–Warwick–Girraween area of far south-eastern Queensland. Leaves, buds and fruit are usually glaucous, the pedicels are long and slender, and the fruit are narrow at the top forming a barrel shape.

Within its sub-group, E. caleyi should only be confused with E. corynodes, both species possessing glaucous adult leaves. All other members have non-glaucous green adult leaves. E. caleyi can be separated from E. corynodes by normally having ovate adult leaves and orbicular to deltoid to ovate juvenile leaves (adult and juvenile leaves lanceolate in E. corynodes). E. scopulorum, a recently described species restricted to the Nymboida National Park on the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, must also be very close to E. caleyi. Apart from being completely non-glaucous, it differs further by having elliptical juvenile leaves which are usually narrower than those in E. caleyi (E. caleyi normally with orbicular to deltoid to ovate juvenile leaves).

Within its area of occurrence there is really only one other ironbark (from another sub-group) with glaucous adult leaves that could be confused with E. caleyi and that is E. melanophloia. It differs by having buds with stamens all fertile and irregularly flexed and opposite, sessile to rarely very shortly petiolate adult leaves. (Adult leaves alternate with long slender petioles in E. caleyi.)

There are two subspecies:

E. caleyi subsp.caleyi
This subspecies has the more extensive distribution from Muswellbrook, New South Wales north to the Inglewood–Warwick–Girraween area in south-east Queensland. The buds and fruits are round in cross-section.

E. caleyi subsp.ovendenii
This subspecies is restricted in its distribution to west of Tenterfield, northern New South Wales, on more elevated sites. The buds and fruits are distinctly square in cross-section.

Eucalyptus caleyi subsp. ovendenii is listed as "Vulnerable" under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Further information may be found at this web address:


Origin of Name

Eucalyptus caleyi: after George Caley (1770–1829). George Caley was a botanical collector who, with the financial assistance of Sir Joseph Banks, collected extensively in New South Wales between the years 1800–1810. It is recorded of him that had his party not refused to proceed he may have been the first man to cross the Blue Mountains.

subsp. ovendenii: after Peter John Ovenden (1929–1997). Between the years 1973 and 1986 Peter Ovenden was a forester with the Forestry Commision of New South Wales based in the Tenterfield district. He had a keen interest in the plants and animals of the district and was the first to recognise this subspecies as being different from the typical E. caleyi.

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