An Overview of the Angophora Genus of Australian Trees

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"An Overview of the Angophora Genus of Australian Trees"
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The Angophora genus is part of the myrtle family Myrtaceae. It is endemic to eastern Australia. A characteristic feature of the 15 or so species are the separate sepals and petals enclosing the buds. Angophora is closely related to the Eucalyptus and Corymbia genera. Most are medium to large trees found in open forest, woodland and heath habitats. The bark is usually on the rough side, rather cork-like or flaky although some species have smooth bark. The leaves appear in opposite pairs and vary from narrow pointed shapes to broad heart shapes. The flowers have masses of white to cream stamens.  These appear in terminal clusters at the branch tips. The flowers attract birds, insects and small mammals. Ribbed woody capsules appear after the flowers.

Angophora costata (also known as A.lanceolata) has the common names of smooth-barked apple, rusty gum, and Sydney redgum. It is native to the sandy forest country of coastal New South Wales. It grows to around 24 metres and is a highly decorative tree with smooth bark. The new bark is a bright orange to pinky-brown becoming a pinkish grey later in the season. New foliage is a deep wine red. Profuse clusters of white to cream flowers are seen from November through to February. It is hardy to a wide range of soil and climatic conditions. It can be susceptible to frosts, especially when young.

Angophora floribunda or rough-barked apple is native to the east coast and adjacent ranges. It is similar to A.costata but the bark is rough, furrowed and greyish in colour. The low-sweeping boughs take on contorted shapes. It produces a profuse display of white to cream flowers from September through to January. It adapts to a wide range of conditions but may suffer frost damage when young.

The narrow- or small-leafed apple (A.bakeri) is localised to the coastal plains and low hills near Sydney in New South Wales. It grows in open forests on poor soils. The bark is rough and fissured. The dull grey-green leaves are very narrow and grow to 8cm in length. White flowers are produced in mid-summer.

Angophora melanoxylon is also known as the coolabah (coolibah) apple. It has a limited range south of the Tropic of Capricorn in the semi-arid inland plains of eastern Australia. With age, it develops massive low limbs and a thick trunk with rugged bark. It is similar to Eucalyptus coolabah in both habitat and growth patterns. Flowering is spasmodic from late winter to summer.

Angophora trees like their light and are fast growing. Their preference is for sandy, moderately fertile soils and they like shelter from strong winds. Most will cope with light overnight frosts providing the days are warm and sunny.

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