Wildflower of the Month – Plunkett Mallee

The wildflower of the month is Plunkett Mallee – Eucalyptus curtisii.
Flowering from mid October to December.

A popular horticultural specimen because of its showy flowers and compact size that suits suburban backyards.

Plunkett Mallee - photo Paul Ansell, 2014

Plunkett Mallee – photo Paul Ansell, 2014

This little gem is one of many unique species growing in Plunkett Regional Park.

It is classified as near threatened and it is Ipswich City’s floral emblem.

It is named the Plunkett Mallee in relation to the area it was first described in. Densil Curtis came across this tree whilst collecting botanical samples within the area in 1923 and the species scientific name, Eucalyptus curtisii, is named after Densil.

The main threats to this plant are inappropriate fire regimes and land clearing. Too frequent fire doesn’t allow this mallee to grow long enough to reproduce by flowering and setting seed. Repetitive arson events over the past 20 years have meant this species hasn’t been given a fair go.

It’s hard work finding a mallee in the whole estate that has growth more than 3 or 4 years old. The Plunkett Mallee needs a minimum of three years between fire events to allow it to reproduce from seed. Being a mallee it does have the capacity to reshoot from its lignotuber after fire events or other disturbance.

There is a heap of Mallee flowering now (November 2015) in the Grass Tree Break area and the Black Rock area. It has a strong scent of honey with heaps of bees and bugs taking advantage of this heavy flowering eucalypt.

The Plunkett Mallee is just one of hundreds of species that make Plunkett Regional Park an important place to conserve.

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