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Morrisbys gum

Current status

[Photo of Morrisbys gum by B. Albion.]

Listed as endangered under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 and the Federal Act. This tree grows to 15m tall and is closely related to three other Tasmanian endemic Eucalypts. Morrisbys gum (Eucalyptus morrisbyi) is one of the most endangered eucalypt species in Australia.

Why is it endangered?

Only four remnant populations occur in the wild. Remnant populations are all that remain of once widespread populations. The largest is a stand of about 2000 trees on Calverts Hill near Lauderdale. This land has been secured by the Private Forests Program to provide ongoing protection for the tree. The trees are named for Mr A. Morrisby who owned the property on which the type specimen was first found.

A smaller population of about 16 trees occurs near Honeywood Drive at Cremorne (on private land). It is considered a fragment of the Calverts Hill population. A population at the East Risdon Nature Reserve near Geilston Bay has only a very small number of trees and has been declining due to ongoing droughts. In 1996 it was estimated at around 70 plants. There does not appear to be any natural regeneration of plants near Honeywood Drive and they only have a life span of around 30 years. Grazing of stock beneath adult trees will stop seedlings from coming up.

What is being done?

[Photo of Morrisbys flowers by B. Albion.]

The populations are being monitored to ensure their long term survival. This is done by regular checks for threats and counting of specimens. Those in the East Risdon Nature Reserve were being attacked by a parasitic vine in 1979 so the vine was removed. This reserve was set up to protect both the E. morrisbyi and our other endangered endemic eucalypt, E. ridonii in 1971.

Both species are fire adapted but require time to build up a suitable seed bank after fire. Morrisbys gum takes at least ten years to reach flowering stage. Fire has been excluded from the nature reserve since 1967 but there is always a fire threat because it is so close to a built up area.

Since 1987 there has been a policy of re-introduction of this species. Hundreds of seedlings have been planted along roads, on private property in Cremorne and are propogated at the Tasmanian Royal Botanical Gardens. Conservation plantings of Morrisbys gum from the East Risdon population have been made in an attempt to conserve the species.

View Distribution Map

Recommended further reading

Blackhall S. A. and J. Lynch 1992. Eucalyptus morrisbyi Flora Recovery Plan: Management Phase. Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania.