Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Eucalyptus robusta
(swamp mahogany)

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Datasheet

Eucalyptus robusta (swamp mahogany)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Eucalyptus robusta
  • Preferred Common Name
  • swamp mahogany
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • E. robusta is one of the Eucalyptus species most widely planted around the world. It is often used as a timber tree, shade tree, ornamental tree, in shelter belts as a windbreak tree and in water catch...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Natural stand of E. robusta.
TitleNatural stand
CaptionNatural stand of E. robusta.
CopyrightDavid Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
Natural stand of E. robusta.
Natural standNatural stand of E. robusta.David Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
TitleRoadside planting
Caption
CopyrightStephen Midgley/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
Roadside plantingStephen Midgley/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
TitleBark
Caption
CopyrightDavid Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
BarkDavid Lea/CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products
1. tree habit
2. flowering twig
3. flower bud
4. infructescence
TitleLine artwork
Caption1. tree habit 2. flowering twig 3. flower bud 4. infructescence
CopyrightPROSEA Foundation
1. tree habit
2. flowering twig
3. flower bud
4. infructescence
Line artwork1. tree habit 2. flowering twig 3. flower bud 4. infructescencePROSEA Foundation

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Eucalyptus robusta Sm.

Preferred Common Name

  • swamp mahogany

Other Scientific Names

  • Eucalyptus multiflora Poir
  • Eucalyptus robusta var. bivalvis Blakely
  • Eucalyptus robusta var. rostrata (Cav.) Pers.
  • Eucalyptus robustus
  • Eucalyptus rostrata Cav.

International Common Names

  • English: robust eucalyptus; swamp stringybark; white mahogany
  • Spanish: alcanfor; caoba de alcanfor; caoba de pantano; eucalipto; eucalipto de alcanfor
  • French: eucalyptus robuste

Local Common Names

  • Australia: swamp messmate
  • Brazil: eucalipto; eucalipto-do-brejo
  • Cuba: caoba de los pantanos
  • Italy: eucalipto robusto
  • USA/Hawaii: robusta

EPPO code

  • EUCRO (Eucalyptus robusta)

Trade name

  • swamp mahogany

Summary of Invasiveness

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E. robusta is one of the Eucalyptus species most widely planted around the world. It is often used as a timber tree, shade tree, ornamental tree, in shelter belts as a windbreak tree and in water catchment rehabilitation. Because this species has a large number of economically important uses, it has been actively introduced in tropical and subtropical countries since the 1890s, resulting in the establishment of large Eucalyptus plantations. These monospecific plantations have resulted in the conversion of open ecosystems into forest ecosystems and in the loss of native biodiversity by shading, soil exposure and erosion, allelopathic activity and important modifications in water infiltration and nutrient regimes (Sax, 2002; Orwa et al., 2009; I3N-Brazil, 2014). Currently E. robusta is listed as invasive in Brazil, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and islands in the Pacific Ocean (see distribution table for details). 

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Myrtales
  •                         Family: Myrtaceae
  •                             Genus: Eucalyptus
  •                                 Species: Eucalyptus robusta

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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There are presently 789 recognized species of eucalypt, together with a further 123 subspecies or varieties, giving a total of 912 eucalypt taxa (Wilcox, 1997). Only five species occur exclusively outside of Australia.

E. robusta belongs broadly to the eastern blue gums, subseries Saligninae, series Salignae, section Transversaria, subgenus Symphyomyrtus of the informal classification of Pryor and Johnson (1971). The only other consistently rough-barked species in this group is E. botryoides, which prefers similar coastal but less wet habitats (Boland et al., 1984). E. robusta is also close to E. pellita and E. resinifera, particularly in the bark characters, but the distribution of the latter two species is more widespread, occurring at higher altitude and well-drained sites. E. robusta is readily distinguished from its close relatives through characteristics of the bark, adult leaves, floral buds and fruits. The fruits have valves that are usually joined across the orifice, in comparison other species which have free valves.

Griffin et al. (1988) list several examples of natural and manipulated hybrids involving E. robusta. It often hybridises with forest red gum (E. tereticornis), the resulting plants having been given the name E. patentinervis.

The common name of swamp mahogany comes from its preferred habitat of swamps, and its timber's likeness to that of West Indies mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni).

Description

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General

E. robusta is a medium to large tree with a dense crown and long, spreading branches when grown in open ground. It regularly attains heights of 20-30 m, with a d.b.h. of up to 1 m (Boland et al., 1984). The trunk is usually straight and extends to about one half the height of the tree, or to two thirds of the tree height in dense stands on favourable sites. The bark is rough and persistent to the small branches, thick, held in coarse, soft, spongy, elongated slabs with deep longitudinal furrows, grey or reddish grey-brown (Brooker and Kleinig, 1994). Trees growing on wet sites in open stands often form both small buttresses and aerial roots in major branch crotches (Keating and Bolza, 1982). Trunks may become encased by aerial roots, some reaching 20 cm in diameter, under wet tropical conditions such as those that prevail in parts of Hawaii (Jacobs, 1981; Durst, 1988).

Botanical descriptions of this species are available (Brooker and Kleinig, 1983; 1994; Chippendale, 1988; Hill, 1991). More general accounts including illustrations are provided by Boland et al. (1984), and Holliday and Watton (1989).

Foliage

The juvenile leaves are petiolate, ovate, up to 19 × 8 cm, strongly discolorous, green, opposite for several pairs, then alternate. Adult leaves are petiolate, leathery, discolorous, glossy and dark green above, pale green below, broad-lanceolate, up to 17 × 4.5 cm.

Inflorescences, flowers and fruits

The inflorescence is axillary, 9-15 flowered, the peduncles are strongly flattened, up to 3 cm in length; buds with prominent stalks (pedicels) to 0.9 cm in length, rarely sessile, to 2.4 × 0.8 cm, scar present, operculum long, beaked; flowers white. The fruit is a woody capsule, with prominent stalk, cylindrical, 1.8 × 1.1 cm; valves 3 or 4, usually joined across the orifice, to rim level or slightly exserted. Seed brown.

Distribution

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E. robusta occurs naturally in Australia, within a narrow coastal strip from southern New South Wales (near Nowra) to coastal south-eastern Queensland (north-west of Bundaberg). It also grows on the offshore islands of North Stradbroke, Moreton and Fraser in south-east Queensland. A disjunct population occurs just north of Yeppoon in coastal, central Queensland.

E. robusta is one of the most widely planted Eucalyptus species, and it has been introduced into many tropical, subtropical, and warm-temperate areas, including many countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, America and the West Indies (see distribution table for details). 

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasivePlantedReferenceNotes

Asia

ChinaPresent Planted
-AnhuiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-FujianPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-GuangdongPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-GuangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-HainanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-Hong KongPresent Planted
-HunanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-JiangxiPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-SichuanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-YunnanPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
-ZhejiangPresentIntroducedFlora of China Editorial Committee, 2014Cultivated
IndiaPresent Planted
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
IndonesiaPresent Planted
IsraelPresent Planted
MalaysiaPresent Planted
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
PakistanPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
SingaporePresentIntroducedChong et al., 2009Cultivated
Sri LankaPresent Planted Orwa et al., 2009
TaiwanPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
TurkeyPresent Planted
VietnamPresent Planted

Africa

AngolaPresent Planted
BotswanaPresent Planted
BurundiPresent Planted
CameroonPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
ComorosPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
CongoPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
GambiaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
KenyaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
MadagascarPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
MalawiPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
MauritiusPresent Planted
MoroccoPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
MozambiquePresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
NigeriaPresent Planted
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive PIER, 2014
RwandaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
SenegalPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
South AfricaPresent Planted
TanzaniaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
-ZanzibarPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
UgandaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
ZambiaPresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedPROTA, 2014Cultivated

North America

MexicoPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
USAPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-CaliforniaPresent Planted
-FloridaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced Invasive Wagner et al., 1999

Central America and Caribbean

Costa RicaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
CubaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
El SalvadorPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
HondurasPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
NicaraguaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
PanamaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
Puerto RicoPresentIntroduced Invasive Acevedo-Rodriguez and Strong, 2012

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
BrazilPresent Planted
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014Cultivated and naturalized
-Minas GeraisPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014Cultivated and naturalized
-ParaPresent Planted
-ParanaPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014Cultivated and naturalized
-Sao PauloPresentIntroduced Invasive I3N-Brasil, 2014Cultivated and naturalized
ChilePresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
ColombiaPresentIntroducedOrwa et al., 2009Cultivated
PeruPresent Planted

Europe

CyprusPresent Planted
FrancePresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
ItalyPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-SardiniaPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
PortugalPresentIntroducedGovaerts, 2014Cultivated
SpainPresent Planted

Oceania

AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresent Planted
-New South WalesPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
-QueenslandPresentNativeUSDA-ARS, 2014
-VictoriaPresent Planted
FijiPresent Planted
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
Micronesia, Federated states ofPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedPIER, 2014Cultivated
Papua New GuineaPresent Planted

History of Introduction and Spread

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E. robusta is a very adaptable species, and has been established successfully over a remarkable range of environments from equatorial regions to an approximate latitude 35ºS (Penfold and Willis, 1961; Streets, 1962; Pryor, 1976; Fenton et al., 1977; Poynton, 1979; Jacobs, 1981; Turnbull and Pryor, 1984; Durst, 1988). Pryor (1976) lists E. robusta as one of the eucalypt species most commonly planted outside Australia. Since 1890, significant areas of E. robusta have been planted in Madagascar, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Hawaii (Jacobs, 1981). By the 1990s, about 1.8 million ha of Eucalyptus species were planted in Africa, and in Madagascar about 151,000 ha of E. robusta were established (PROTA, 2014).

This species was also introduced to Florida around 1880, Hawaii around 1885, and Puerto Rico around 1915. Between 1930 and 1960 about 2.3 million trees were planted in Hawaii and by 1960 more than 4650 ha (11,500 acres) of plantations were established in Hawaii (Little and Skolmen, 2003). In 1995 it was estimated that Eucalyptus plantations amounted about 14.6 million ha worldwide (PROTA, 2014). 

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of introduction of E. robusta is moderate to high. It is one of the most widely cultivated Eucalyptus species in tropical and subtropical countries, mainly for timber and pulpwood production. Seeds can be easily dispersed by wind and secondarily by water and human activities (Orwa et al., 2009). Therefore, the probability of this species colonizing new habitats or being intentionally introduced into new habitats remains high. 

Habitat

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E. robusta occurs mainly in open-forest, where it is restricted to swamps, edges of saltwater estuaries and lagoons, or rarely on the lower slopes of valleys (Fenton et al., 1977; Boland et al., 1984). It is highly tolerant to seasonal waterlogging. Soils are typically heavy clays, but also light sandy clays (Marcar et al., 1995). On the offshore islands of south-east Queensland, such as Fraser Island, it is found on almost pure sands (Boland et al., 1984).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Disturbed areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Rail / roadsides Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Urban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Natural forests Present, no further details Natural
Natural forests Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Riverbanks Present, no further details Natural
Riverbanks Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Wetlands Present, no further details Natural
Wetlands Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Littoral
Coastal areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal areas Present, no further details Natural
Coastal areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Natural
Coastal dunes Present, no further details Productive/non-natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

In southern Florida, E. robusta was a major component of a genetic improvement program for pulpwood production which began in the 1960s (Geary et al., 1983). After two cycles of improvement involving mass selection in the first cycle, and between-family plus within-family selection in the second cycle, E. robusta demonstrated sizeable gains for height (27%), diameter (33%), volume (63%), cold hardiness (19%), branch size and angle (14%) and stem straightness (9%) (Dvorak, 1981; Dvorak et al., 1981). In Hawaii, Aradhya and Phillips (1993) studied the variation within the local land race of E. robusta using allozyme analysis. They concluded that the high levels of polymorphism and heterozygosity observed were an indication that the local land race represents a suitable base for further genetic improvement of the species.

The Florida program has produced and assessed the potential of E. grandis × E. robusta hybrids. Field trials indicate that this hybrid significantly outperforms both parent species in height, volume, cold tolerance, and coppicing ability, but the hybrids tend to be slightly less straight than E. grandis. However, hybrid breakdown (e.g. double recessive, or other unwanted phenotypes) occurs rapidly in generations after the F1 stage (Geary et al., 1983).

Reproductive Biology

Eucalyptus species have hermaphrodite, protandrous flowers and are primarily pollinated by insects and birds (Griffin, 1989). They reproduce by a mixed mating system, with both outcrossing and selfing occurring (Moran, 1992).

Physiology and Phenology

E. robusta is a medium to large tree and is capable of rapid early growth in suitable environments. Similar to other eucalypts, E. robusta does not develop resting buds and grows whenever conditions are favourable (Jacobs, 1955). It has been reported to flower after 2 years in Kenya (Jacobs, 1981), and after 5 years in California (King and Krugman, 1980). The flowering period is May-July in Australia (Brooker and Kleinig, 1994), September-November in Florida (Geary et al., 1983), January-March in California (King and Krugman, 1980) or at any time of the year in tropical areas such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico (Little and Wadsworth, 1964). In Australia mature seed may be collected during the summer months from December-February (Boland et al., 1980).

Associations

E. robusta forms pure stands or may be associated with other eucalypts such as E. resinifera, E. gummifera (syn. Corymbia gummifera), E. intermedia (syn. Corymbia intermedia) and sometimes E. tereticornis. Other trees found growing with E. robusta include various species of Melaleuca and Casuarina glauca. These tend to replace E. robusta on sites with very high water tables.

Environmental Requirements

This species has a broad environmental amplitude, and is planted widely outside of Australia in equatorial to cool temperate regions. E. robusta is best known as a plantation species in the Madagascar highlands, but also in the USA (Hawaii, Florida, California) and Central America (Puerto Rico). E. robusta may tolerate adverse conditions and is especially useful on sites subject to prolonged flooding. It is moderately salt-tolerant.

Latitude

Between 23º N and 35º S

Vegetation types

Coastal plant communities
Sclerophyllous forests
Swamps

Altitude

0 - 1600 m

Climate

E. rotunda occurs naturally in the warm humid climate zone, ranging from regions with rare winter frosts and a summer maximum, to a uniform distribution of rainfall throughout the year (Boland et al., 1984). It grows well on sites in the moist tropics up to an elevation of 1600 m, and with a mean annual temperature of about 23°C. It inhabits areas with a rainfall in excess of 1500 mm, which is distributed fairly uniformly throughout the year. However, this species has a wide ranging physiological adaptability, and may establish successfully on sites of much lower rainfall (min. value 700 mm). Mature trees of E. robusta are remarkably tolerant of frost, especially given that frosts are uncommon in the species' natural range. For example, six-year-old trees near San Francisco, USA, survived temperatures as low as -9°C and showed signs of only temporary damage to foliage (King and Krugman, 1980). Durst (1988) gives the lower limit of tolerance as -11°C. However, seedlings are unable to tolerate frost, and hard frosts are harmful to young saplings less than 2 m tall.

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
-23 -35 0 1600

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -11 -9
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 16 23
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 22 32
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 0 9

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration04number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall7006350mm; lower/upper limits

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Leaf spots on E. robusta in Hawaii, Brazil, Zimbabwe and Mauritius have been attributed to the fungal pathogens Harknessia hawaiiensis, H. insueta, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides [Glomerella cingulata] and Cylindrocladium ovatum sp. novus (see review in Fenton et al., 1977; El-Gholl et al., 1993). In Sri Lanka and India, a well-known pathogen of tea Cercosporella theae [Calonectria theae] causes leaf spots and sunken purple cankers on young stems of E. robusta, while in Australia leaf spots on this species have been attributed to Readeriella mirabilis (see review in Fenton et al., 1977). In the past, the fungus Cylindrocladium scoparium [Calonectria kyotensis] has caused serious seedling losses in Florida (Durst, 1988), but is now controlled by soil sterilization and sprays. In Puerto Rico, E. robusta is susceptible to gummosis and trunk rots caused by Polyporus schweinitzii [Phaeolus schweinitzii] and Fomes spp. (Durst, 1988). Another fungus, Botryosphaeria ribis, causes cankers on the trunk (Jacobs, 1981). Susceptibility of E. robusta to root rot has also been reported (see review in Fenton et al., 1977). In Sao Paulo, Brazil, E. robusta has been attacked by the bacterium Phytomonas tumifaciens [Rhizobium radiobacter] (National Academy of Science, 1983).

In Australia, E. robusta is moderately to highly susceptible to insect attack (Marcar et al., 1995). The juvenile foliage is attacked by leaf-blister sawfly (Phylacteophaga froggatti) and autumn gum moth (Mnesampela privata) while adult foliage is susceptible to lerp (Cardiaspina sp.), autumn gum moth, leaf beetle (Paropsis sp. and Chrysophtharta sp.), leafblister sawfly, gumtree hoppers (Eurymela sp. and Eurymeloides sp.), scale (Eriococcus coriaceus [Acanthococcus coriaceus] and E. confusus [Acanthococcus confusus]) and Christmas beetle (Anoplognathus sp.). Older trees under stress by drought are attacked by eucalypt borers (Phoracantha sp. and Epithora dorsalis), bullseye borer (Phoracantha acanthocera, synonym Tryphocaria acanthocera) and cossid borer (Endoxyla spp.). Susceptibility of E. robusta to eucalyptus snout beetle, Gonipterus scutellatus, has caused a cessation of planting of the species in some parts of southern Africa (Fenton et al., 1977; Poynton, 1979). Young trees are susceptible to termites (National Academy of Science, 1983). The leaf-eating beetle, Maecolaspis favosa, has reportedly caused serious damage to young seedlings and coppice shoots in Florida; older trees are unaffected (Geary et al., 1983). Coleoptera borers (Brazil) and cockchafers (Vietnam) are also reported pests of E. robusta (see review in Fenton et al, 1977).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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E. robusta spreads by seeds. Seed dispersal is largely by wind and may begin within 6 weeks after the capsule ripens. Seeds can be secondarily dispersed by water and human activities (Orwa et al., 2009).  

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive and negative

Environmental Impact

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Plantations of E. robusta have resulted in the conversion of open ecosystems into forest ecosystems. These monoculture plantations generate loss of plant diversity by shading, soil exposure, erosion, allelopathic activity and important changes in water infiltration and modifications in waterways, wetlands and swamps. Eucalyptus plantations completely outcompete native plant species by the action of allelopathic activity that inhibits the probability of germination and establishment of native plant species. Eucalyptus plantations have often replaced oak woodlands in regions such as California, Spain and Portugal. The resulting monocultures have raised concerns about loss of animal biological diversity, through loss of acorns that mammals and birds feed on, absence of hollows that in oak trees provide shelter and nesting sites for birds and small mammals and for bee colonies, as well as lack of downed trees in managed plantations (Sax, 2002; Orwa et al., 2009; I3N-Brazil, 2014). 

Threatened Species

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Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
Platydesma rostrataCR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010a
Pritchardia hardyi (Makaleha pritchardia)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b
Santalum haleakalae var. lanaiense (Lanai sandalwood)NatureServe NatureServe; USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition (unspecified)US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011
Stenogyne purpurea (purplefruit stenogyne)CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered) CR (IUCN red list: Critically endangered); USA ESA listing as endangered species USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiCompetition - monopolizing resourcesUS Fish and Wildlife Service, 2010b

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Altered trophic level
  • Damaged ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of fire regime
  • Modification of hydrology
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Soil accretion
  • Threat to/ loss of endangered species
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Competition - shading
  • Competition - smothering
  • Competition
  • Pest and disease transmission
  • Filtration
  • Hybridization
  • Rapid growth

Uses

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Wood Uses

An extensive review of the properties of the wood of E. robusta, and its utilization in several countries is provided by Fenton et al. (1977).

In summary, E. robusta provides a moderately durable hardwood with an air-dry density of 805-900 kg/m³ for wood from natural stands in Australia and 725-800 kg/m³ for plantation timber in Hawaii (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The heartwood is pale red when freshly cut, but turning orange-red or red-brown with age. The sapwood is pale brown, 40 mm wide and susceptible to attack by lyctid borers (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The logs are prone to sap-stain and pinhole borer attack, yet are moderately resistant to termite attack (Keating and Bolza, 1982; Webb et al., 1984). The heartwood is moderately durable, i.e. having an approximate life in the ground of 8-25 years. It may split and distort during seasoning and is not stable in fluctuating atmospheric conditions. This can be avoided if the timber is air-dried to less than 30% moisture content before kiln-seasoning (Keating and Bolza, 1982). It is not favoured for general building purposes because of degradation during drying (Bootle, 1983), or for steam-bending (Keating and Bolza, 1982). The wood is resistant to marine borers and can be treated with preservatives (Durst, 1988).

In Australia, it is used in general construction and for underground pilings, utility poles and fence posts. In Hawaii, the wood has been used mainly for pallets and furniture. However, the high humidity causes shrinkage and expansion which makes it unsuitable for furniture construction in most areas (Skolmen 1971, 1974). The wood of E. robusta forms excellent stakes used in irrigation systems, and for conveyor-belt slats used in the sugar industry. Truck beds, weather-boards for houses, flooring, interior trim and panelling are made from E. robusta (Skolmen, 1974; Durst, 1988).

In the USA, E. robusta is used to produce rotary cut construction grade veneer. Pulpwood is the major use of E. robusta in Florida (Durst, 1988). Pulping properties of the wood are given by Fenton et al. (1977).

E. robusta is commonly used for fuelwood in many parts of the world. This is the case in Madagascar, where extensive plantations of this species provide fuel, charcoal, transmission poles, construction timber, bridging material and flooring (Bertrand, 1992). Studies of its use in plantations as a potential source of woody biomass to generate electricity have also been conducted (King and Krugman, 1980; Schubert and Whitesell, 1985).

Non-Wood Uses

Bees foraging on the nectar of E. robusta flowers produce dark amber, highly aromatic honey of acceptable flavour (Clemson, 1985). The species is used for honey production in many areas where it is planted (Little, 1983; Carlowitz, 1986).

Land Uses

E. robusta has a dense, deep crown of dark green leaves and seasonally abundant creamy white flowers, and is suitable for shade, shelter and as an ornamental tree (Poynton, 1979; Hillis and Brown, 1984; Webb et al., 1984). This species has been planted extensively for these purposes in the USA (Hawaii, Florida and California), throughout the Caribbean and in several African countries. The tendency of older trees to shed large limbs in strong winds makes it an undesirable selection for areas affected by typhoons (Jacobs, 1981). It has been used for watershed protection, mine site reclamation and dune stabilization (Carlowitz, 1986; Langkamp, 1987; Durst, 1988).

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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22/04/14 Updated by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

Pedro Acevedo-Rodríguez, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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