It is mainly found in inland areas of New South Wales and central and southern Queensland but extends into South Australia and north-western Victoria. Its latitudinal range is 21-35o S and it is usually found from near sea level to 200 m. (QLD, NSW, VIC, SA)
A shrub or small tree to 10 m with hanging leaves and branches, which form a large, rounded and dense crown. It is rather slow-growing. The bark is dark and rough on the lower trunk and paler above. Its leaves have numerous oil glands and are strongly aromatic when crushed, 4-18 cm long and less than 1 cm wide, shiny dark green with a prominent vein on the lower surface. The small, white flowers have 5 petals and emit an unpleasant smell, which attracts blowflies. The globular fruits, about 5 mm in diameter, have a thick outer skin which exposes a single, shiny, black seed when it dries out. Flowering occurs from June to November and mature fruits are produced from January to May. There are about 50 000 viable seeds per kilogram (based on a single seedlot).
Ecology/Way of Life:
Wilga occurs mostly in the warm semi-arid zone, but in eastern Queensland it extends into the warm sub-humid and humid zones. The number of frosts varies from 1-50 per year. Mean annual rainfall is 175-715 mm with a weak winter maximum in the south and a summer maximum in the north. It grows in undulating or rolling country and on alluvial plains near major river systems. It also occurs on rocky hills and escarpments. On the hills the soils are often shallow loams and light clays. On the plains soils vary from sands to heavy cracking clays, sometimes with strongly alkaline subsoils. Wilga is found in semi-evergreen vine thickets, open-forest, woodland and shrublands. The vine thickets are remains of rainforest and have a nearly continuous canopy of slender, densely packed trees. Here it is commonly associated with Flindersia australis, Alstonia constricta and Brachychiton rupestre. In open-forest it occurs with Callitris spp., Casuarina cristata and Acacia harpophylla and in woodlands with several box type eucalypts.
Interaction with Humans/Threats:
Its wood is pale, hard, heavy, close-grained and has a pleasant smell. The foliage has a high fodder value and is readily eaten by sheep but rarely by cattle. It makes a satisfactory windbreak and a shade and shelter plant. It is a valuable source of nectar and pollen for beekeepers and produces a strongly flavoured honey.
Geijera parviflora was named in 1848 by John Lindley (1799-1865), an assistant to Sir Joseph Banks, and later Professor of Botany at the universities of London and Cambridge. Lindley named the specimens collected on Sir Thomas Mitchell's third expedition in eastern Australia; the generic name honours J.D. Geijer, a Swedish botanist; the species name is from the Latin parvus = small and florus = flower, refers to its small flowers.
Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. 1981. Plants of western New South Wales. Soil Conservation Service, Government Printer, Sydney.
Doran, J.C. and Turnbull, J.W. (eds.) 1997. Australian trees and shrubs; species for land rehabilitation and farm planting in the tropics. ACIAR Monograph no. 24. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 384p.
Porteners, M.F. 1991. Geijera. In: Flora of New South Wales. Vol. 2. University of New South Wales Press, Kensington, Sydney. 574p.
Topics:Climatic zones Soils Vegetation types Fodder Firewood Timber Windbreak Honey Germination
Text & map from Australian Trees and Shrubs, courtesy Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; text edited by J. Turnbull; photo courtesy D. Lea.
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