Symplocos stawellii

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Symplocos stawelliiFamily: Symplocaceae
Genus: Symplocos
Common name: White Hazelwood
ALA reference

A report of an excursion by the Queensland Field Naturalists to this area in 1889 seems to provide reliable evidence that Symplocos stawellii (White Hazelwood) was growing here at that time. The naturalists group included the Colonial Botanist, Mr F.M. Bailey, so I think it is reasonable to assume that the plant identification was correct. The following is an extract from the report:-

A small tree of Symplocos stawelli [sic] was noticed in full bloom, the flowers of which rival in fragrance those of the European hawthorn, although for beauty it does not approach that well-known and much loved plant. It may here be remarked, however, that this Australian tree produces one of our most valuable woods. It has a very close grain and is considered suitable for all the purposes to which box is applied.

I managed to obtain six plants of this species from the Coolum Community Native Nursery that were grown from seeds collected in that area. They have all been planted out in the reserve and all seem to be growing very well at this stage.

A full copy of the report that appeared in the Brisbane Courier in 1889 can be found here, courtesy of the Queensland Naturalists’ Club. (February 2013)