Western white gum (Eucalyptus argophloia).
This species is currently placed in the Eucalyptus section Adnataria, Series Moluccanae (eastern boxes), although it is somewhat taxonomically isolated from the boxes in this group. It is also known as Chinchilla white gum, Queensland western white gum or Burncluith gum. It has a very restricted natural distribution northeast of Chinchilla in south-eastern Queensland. In natural stands, it grows to 40 m, with good form and with a stem clear of branches for at least half the tree height.1
Properties and uses of western white gum
The timber of western white gum is very hard and is highly resistant to decay in when contact with the ground or in damp or poorly ventilated conditions. As the sapwood is susceptible to lyctine borer attack, the timber should be free of sapwood or chemically treated before sale. In appearance, the heartwood is red-brown and the sapwood paler, with an unfigured, fine to medium textured grain. The basic density of 32-year-old plantation grown timber is 840 kg m-3, and is similar to that for mature, natural grown timber (855 kg m-3 basic density or 1005 kg m-3 air dry density). It has a range of uses including construction, framing and joinery2.
The recovery of high-grade timber from young, unmanaged plantations has been relatively low when compared with recovery rates from mature timber in natural stands3. Recovery is expected to be higher from timber grown under conditions of optimum management.
Western white gum has very high quality timber. Currently, very little western white gum is harvested in Queensland as it is classed as vulnerable under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act of 1992. Timber harvesting and clearing in its natural habitat is not allowed and very little plantation grown timber is currently available. Western white gum is being tested as a suitable plantation species across a range of environments as part of the Hardwoods Queensland project.