Angophora is closely related to Corymbia and Eucalyptus, all three of which are referred to as eucalypts. The distinguishing characteristics of Angophora are opposite leaves and fruit with sharp ribs (as opposed to Eucalyptus‘ generally smooth fruit). Angophora fruit also lacks an operculum, or bud cap. The name Angophora is composed of the Greek words for goblet (angeion) and carry (phoreo), in reference to the cup-shaped fruit.
Angophora subvelutina is locally abundant in the eastern parts of the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland. It prefers fertile soils, making it an indicator of good farmland. It is also known as broad-leaved apple (the term apple is used by Australians to refer to any Angophora species). This medium-sized tree has twisted and gnarled branches with flaky, brittle bark. Not shown in today’s photo is the lignotuber – a woody swelling of the root crown that provides insurance against disturbance such as fire. If the upper parts of Angophora subvelutina are cut or burnt, it resprouts from buds within the swollen crown. The lignotuber stores carbohydrates that may make a critical difference should the tree lose all of its photosynthetic parts. Angophora subvelutina also employs epicormic buds as part of its fire-survival strategy. These buds within the bark of trees are explained further in a previous post featuring Eucalyptus coccifera.
Mature Angophora subvelutina leaves are blue-grey to dark green, while new leaves are rosy pink. The size, shape, and length of petiole of the leaves varies considerably. The colour of the new leaves, coupled with new growth that is covered in scattered long red hairs gives this species another of its common names, red apple. The inflorescence is prolific. Loose corymbs of small white to cream flowers are held at the tips of branches. These abundant flowers are an important source of honey, and also provide nectar for butterflies and the Queensland blossom bat (Syconycteris australis).