29 May 2012

Eucalyptus diptera - Two-winged Gimlet

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Eucalyptus diptera - Two-winged Gimlet

The Two-winged Gimlet (member of the immense Myrtaceae family) is very similar, although much smaller than Eucalyptus creta, the Large-fruited Gimlet (see here), which is found to the north of Esperance. The smaller Eucalyptus diptera also occurs inland, but is more widespread from Lake King (north of Ravensthorpe) to Israelite Bay, but largely north and northwest of Esperance.

Eucalyptus diptera also prefers the heavier loams, particularly over limestone and is commonly located in compact communities either side of small (mallee region) drainage depressions, or flat areas where moisture is retained for longer periods in the normally low-rainfall district (300 mm or 12” average per annum). This species normally has a multi-trunk (mallee) growth habit, but without fire can be tree-like (single trunk).

It is mostly seen growing to 6-8 metres (20’-26’) in height, but can be taller when tree-like. The trunks are smooth, deeply fluted (gimlet) and attractively coloured copper/bronze. The common name of Two-winged Gimlet refers to the pronounced wings either side of the buds and fruits, plus the twisted trunk (gimlet). The green/yellow flowers (to 2 cm or ¾” diameter when fully open) are eagerly sought by birds. Usually flowering during spring, but if heavy summer storms pass their way, will often bloom again in autumn.