Encyclopedia of Stanford Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Tristania conferta (Lophostemon confertus). BRUSH BOX. New South Wales, Queensland
MYRTACEAE (Myrtle family)

Closely related to Eucalyptus, brush box (also called Brisbane box) is a tough, useful tree with warm-colored smooth bark becoming rough toward the base. In its native habitat, in moist coastal gullies, it grows to over 100 feet and reaches many feet in diameter. A sample of the wood is likely to sink in water. A principal use is as a small, rugged street tree. Each flower has about five petals (white), is about an inch across, and has a distinctive appearance resembling a starfish from the way the stamens are arranged on radiating axes. The flowers are in cymes of seven, as are the seed capsules, which look very much like Eucalyptus. A comparison with any seven-fruited Eucalyptus will reveal the latter’s cymose ancestry. That the Eucalyptus flower represents a later stage of evolution is evidenced by its loss of petals. Crush a leaf and smell it; no hint of Eucalyptus.

Enter Wilbur Hall from the east to find six specimens in the courtyards. There are four more in the northwest courtyard. Two examples are at the intersection of Santa Teresa and Dueña streets, adjacent to Tresidder Union. The trees flower in June. T. conferta is the original name for what some botanists now call Lophostemon confertus.

Illustration: McMinn, Howard E. and Evelyn Maino. 1951. An illustrated manual of Pacific coast trees; with lists of trees recommended for various uses on the Pacific coast by H. W. Shepherd. 2d ed. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.

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