Blackbutt – Eucalyptus pilularis
Other Names: Pink Blackbutt, Tcheergun, Toi.
Distinctive Characteristics: The common name Blackbutt supposedly refers to the charred black base of the tree after bushfires. This evergreen tree has hard, leathery foliage adapted to prevent moisture loss. The lower part of the trunk is covered in dark, fibrous, spongy bark that can peel away in strips, while the bark higher up and on the branches is smooth and cream-colored, occasionally scribbled by insect larvae.
Distribution: Native to southeastern Australia, on the far south coast of New South Wales up to southeastern Queensland. Elevation: sea level to 2,500 ft. (800 m).
Ecosystem: Found in grassy coastal forests and wet sclerophyll ecosystems, which are characterized by open stands of tall eucalypts, and an important element of several endangered communities, including Blue Gum high forest, Illawarra lowlands, Bangalay sand forest, and grassy woodland, with other tree species including Tallowwood, White Mahogany, Red Mahogany, Grey Ironbark, Coast Grey Box, Brush Box, Turpentine, Spotted Gum, Sydney Peppermint, and Sydney Red Gum.
Maximum Age: Over 200 years.
Maximum Height and Girth: 230 ft. (70 m) in height; 49 ft. (15 m) in circumference.
Animal Community: This species of Eucalyptus is one of the trees that koalas depend on for food. As they tend to hollow at a young age, the become an important habitat for animals. The tree's nectar and pollen are highly sought after by fruit bats, blossom bats, honeyeaters, and lorikeets. The seeds are sought after by gang-gang cockatoos.
Traditional Uses: There were most likely many other traditional uses of this tree, in addition to the following known ones.
Medicine: The gum resin, known as kino, is an astringent.
Shelter: Some hollow cavities of burnt out trees were used by aboriginal women to give birth in.
Modern Uses: Economically, Blackbutt is an important hardwood, logged from natural forests or plantations. It is used for flooring, poles, railroad ties, building construction, furniture, decking, fencing, landscaping, wood chips and paper pulp. The pollen of the tree is utilized by bees in commercial honey production.
Threats and Conservation: Not threatened.