MABBA Eucalyptus patens Benth. family Myrtaceae

blackbuttEucalyptus patens may be a tall tree up to 45 m high and with dbh to 1-8 m and a relatively large, straight bole which may be heavily branched in the upper parts. On less favourable, particularly swampy sites it is a smaller tree of poor form.

Western Australian Blackbutt has a natural distribution which coincides closely with that of jarrah (E. marginata), i.e. from near Perth in the northern part of the occurrence to Albany on the south coast, a distance of about 500 km. This area is mainly within 120 km of the sea. The range of latitude is 32—35°S, and that of altitude from near sea level to about 300 m. The climate is warm humid to sub-humid with the mean maximum temperature of the hottest month in the range 25—31°C. Winters are mild with mean minimum temperatures for the coldest month in the range 5—9°C. Locations close to the sea are frost free but those farther inland may experience up to 12 frosts annually. Mean annual rainfall is around 850—1250 mm, with a distinct winter maximum.

This species occurs mainly in valleys and depressions of the Darling Range and to a lesser extent on lowlands towards the coast. It also grows on hilly country in the southern part of the Jarrah belt. On the flatter areas it is found mainly on the deeper, silty to sandy alluvial loams rather than on the laterite. It prefers soils which are moist, but not waterlogged, and with a well-developed clay subsoil.

Western Australian blackbutt is nowhere plentiful and typically occurs in tall open—forest to open-forest formation on favourable sites throughout the prime Jarrah forests. Other eucalypt species with which it may be associated, though usually not in intimate mixtures, are marri (E. caloplzylla), karri (E. diversicolor) and Western Australian flooded gum (E. rudis).

Wood: Heartwood pale yellow, hard, tough and moderately durable, interlocked grain, slow to dry with a tendency to check, but does not collapse appreciably; density about 865 kg m‘3; used for constructional work, sleepers, flooring, panelling and cases, but in relatively short supply.

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