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

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

D. Nicolle
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- Author Affiliations

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

Australian Systematic Botany 18(6) 473-524
Submitted: 17 September 2004  Accepted: 24 May 2005   Published: 20 December 2005


Morphological variation within Eucalyptus series Subulatae subseries Decussatae and Decurrentes was assessed by adult and seedling characteristics for 321 individuals representing 91 populations from across the broad geographical distribution of both the subseries. All previously recognised taxa from the subseries are included. Based on examination of adult and seedling morphology and phenetic analyses of morphological variation, eleven taxa (eight species) are recognised within E. subser. Decussatae. Adult morphology is most important in distinguishing taxa in this subseries, although seedling characters are also useful discriminators of some taxa, most notably E. aspersa and E. yalatensis. The previously recognised E. eucentrica is weakly distinguished from E. socialis, and E. socialis s.l. (i.e. including E. eucentrica) forms four adjacent groups in ordination analyses based on adult characters and adult and seedling characters combined. Four subspecies of E. socialis are recognised. Eucalyptus socialis subsp. viridans Nicolle subsp. nov. is described to accommodate green-leaved populations of E. socialis from the Peninsulas and southern Murray Mallee regions in South Australia. Eucalyptus socialis subsp. victoriensis Nicolle subsp. nov. is described to accommodate coarse-leaved, budded and fruited populations of E. socialis from the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia and South Australia. A new combination is also made [E. socialis subsp. eucentrica (L.A.S. Johnson & K.D. Hill) Nicolle comb. nov.]. Based on the examination of variation in adult and seedling morphology and phenetic analyses of morphological variation, 11 or 12 taxa within E. subser. Decurrentes are recognised. Eucalyptus transcontinentalis subsp. semivestita is considered to be synonymous with E. moderata and the circumscription of this species is greatly modified. A new taxonomy for both the subseries is presented, based on extensive field, seedling and herbarium examination of all taxa in the series and phenetic analyses. Descriptions and keys to the taxa within the subseries are presented.


I thank Molly Whalen for ongoing discussions and assistance with the study, Duncan Mackay for technical assistance and statistical support throughout the project and Geoff Lloyd for glasshouse assistance. I also 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. Stephen Hopper (Kings Park, Perth) and Andrew Slee (CSIRO, Canberra) provided locality information and other data on some species. I thank the staff of the Plant Biodiversity Centre (South Australia), the Australian National Herbarium (Canberra) and the Western Australian Herbarium for allowing access 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. New South Wales: A2278; Northern Territory: 6404; Queensland: W0 / 001981 / 97 / SAA; South Australia: Z24187 1, K24185 1; Victoria: 10001395; Western Australia: NE001372, SL003358, SL004012, SW005045, SL005679.


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