Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

A taxonomic revision and morphological variation within Eucalyptus series Subulatae subseries Spirales (Myrtaceae) of southern Australia

D. Nicolle A B and M. A. Whalen A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological Sciences, The Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Systematic Botany 19(1) 87-112
Submitted: 10 September 2004  Accepted: 24 May 2005   Published: 27 February 2006


Variation in adult and seedling morphology within Eucalyptus series Subulatae subseries Spirales, a group of mallee and woodland tree taxa distributed across southern Australia, was examined. A total of 35 adult morphological characters and 13 seedling characters was included in the phenetic analyses of 150 individuals representing 40 populations covering all the taxa and the broad geographical distribution of the subseries and also including E. brockwayi and E. salmonophloia for comparative purposes. Based on phenetic analyses of adult and seedling characters, six taxa are recognised within E. subser. Spirales and seedling characters are important in delimiting these taxa. Of the seven subspecies of E. oleosa described by Johnson and Hill (1999), two subspecies, E. oleosa subsp. oleosa and subsp. repleta could not be distinguished from one another based on either adult or seedling morphology. Similarly, the three subspecies, E. oleosa subsp. ampliata, wylieana and victima, could not be distinguished. A new taxonomy for E. subser. Spirales based on phenetic analyses combined with extensive field, glasshouse and herbarium examination of all taxa in the subseries is presented. Six terminal taxa in the subseries are recognised, viz. E. delicata, E. longicornis and E. oleosa with subspp. oleosa, ampliata, corvina and cylindroidea. Within E. oleosa, E.oleosa subsp. oleosa and subsp. ampliata are not readily distinguishable on the basis of adult morphology alone. Eucalyptus oleosa subsp. repleta is synonymised with subsp. oleosa, and E. oleosa subspp. wylieana and victima with subsp. ampliata. Keys to the taxa of the subseries are presented.


We thank Duncan Mackay for statistical advice and assistance throughout the project, Geoff Lloyd for glasshouse assistance, and Robyn Barker and Helmut Toelken (AD) for valuable discussions. The senior author would like to thank John Connors, Malcolm French and Bob Nicolle for field support and assistance, Denise and Malcolm French for hospitality while in Western Australia and Ian Brooker and Malcolm French for ongoing discussions about eucalypts and general advice. Peter Lang (DENR, Adelaide) provided locality information on some species. We thank the staff of the Plant Biodiversity Centre (South Australia), the Australian National Herbarium (Canberra) and the Western Australian Herbarium for allowing access to their facilities, specimens and data. This work was undertaken at The Flinders University of South Australia with funding support from a Flinders University ARC Small Research Grant, a National Parks Foundation of South Australia Research Grant and support from the Mark Mitchell Research Foundation. CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, provided support that allowed for the collection of specimens in the deserts of SA and WA. The collection of herbarium specimens and accompanying seed to grow progeny as part of this study was undertaken with the following scientific research permits. South Australia: Z24187 1, K24185 1; Victoria: 10001395; Western Australia: NE001372, SL003358, SL004012, SW005045, SL005679.


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