Alphitonia excelsa (A.Cunn. ex Fenzl) Benth.
Bentham, G. (1863) Flora Australiensis 1: 414.
Asg, Red; Humbug; Leatherjacket; Coopers Wood; Mountain Ash; Soap Tree; Red Tweedie; Sarsaparilla; Red Almond; RED ASH
Leaf blades about 3-18.5 x 1.2-6 cm, white or whitish on the underside. Stipules long and narrow, about 3-10 x 1 mm, gradually tapering to a fine point. Freshly broken twigs emit a faint sarsaparilla or liniment odour. Young shoots rusty hairy.
Cotyledons ovate, elliptic or obovate, about 8-16 x 9-11 mm. First pair of leaves toothed, undersides clothed in matted hairs. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade underside clothed in white, downy hairs; hairs on stem erect, pale brown. Stipules hairy, linear, up to 3 mm long. Seed germination time 11 to 37 days.
Food plant for the larval stages of the Large Green-banded Blue, Small Green-banded Blue, Copper Jewel, Fiery Jewel and Indigo Flash Butterflies. Common & Waterhouse (1981).
The leaves possess a high saponin content sufficient to make a froth if they are crushed and shaken in water. Cribb (1981).
Sometimes grows large enough to produce millable logs. Produces a useful general purpose timber.
Wood specific gravity 0.77. Cause et al. (1989).