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Eucalyptus gomphocephala

Eucalyptus gomphocephala


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Tuart • Eucalyptus gomphocephala
The ‘tuart’ is a medium-size tree that grows up to 40 metres in height. With dense foliage, dull grey bark and white to cream coloured flowers, the tree has rough, fibrous grey bark that flakes into small pieces. The leaves are usually curved, shiny light green, with a paler underside. The almost stalkless buds cluster in groups of seven, with each bud a prominent broad bud cap like that of small ice cream cones, 8 to 10 mm long. The tuart (E. gomphocephala) is named in reference to the swollen looking flower head. Flowering period is summer and early autumn. The fruit are narrow, cup-shaped, 13 to 25 mm long, with a broad rim.

Early explorers and settlers near Busselton described the forest as a ‘beautiful open forest in which visibility was clear for a half mile in any direction’. The land on which the tuart grew, was eagerly sought after for grazing, whilst the limestone found in the soil was quarried to manufacture quicklime for building and agriculture. The light yellow wood itself, was prized for its high density and resistance to wear. So today, it is surprising that any of the tuart forest survived. The largest stands of surviving tuart forest is to be found around Wonnerup and Ludlow, with distribution from Jurien Bay to near Busselton.

The timber was once used to craft whim and wagon wheels, journals for propeller shafts, decking for wagons, telegraph pegs and tool handles. After World War II, a tuart mill was built at Ludlow for rolling stock construction.

Places to see the Tuart
Tuarts are endemic to Western Australia. They are found growing in coastal regions, specifically the Swan Coastal Plain that stretches from Jurien Bay, north of Perth to Busselton in the south. They seem to prefer the sandy soils found in the coastal limestone areas stretching 200 km either side of Perth. Tuarts fall into six distinct tuart ecosystems, of which four are considered rare due to their limited range and size. One such eco system is the Ludlow Tall Tuart Forest, where the trees are taller than anywhere else in the state, with some reaching 40 metres or more and approximately 500 years old. Tuart forest can also be seen in the Tuart Forest National Park.

Common names
White gum, duart.

Source: DEC - Conserving our tuarts and Cable Sands - The Ludlow Tall Tuart Forest

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtaceae
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Eucalyptus
Species: Eucalyptus gomphocephala
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