Scaly-Butt Mallee (Eucalyptus leprophloia) is listed as Endangered under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and the WA Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
Scaly-Butt Mallee is an erect mallee that grows to 5m tall, with scaly, curly bark to 1m and smooth grey over pale-copper bark above. The juvenile leaves are up to 8cm long and 6cm wide, and are oval shaped, bluish-green and dull. Adult leaves are up to 14cm long and 2.5cm wide and are also dull green. Egg-shaped buds are 7mm long and 4mm wide, on very short stalks. Flowers are creamy-white, forming cup-shaped fruits to 7mm long and 6mm wide.
Scaly-Butt Mallee occurs from Badgingarra to Mingenew. The populations occur on land with various tenures, including private property, unallocated crown land, a private reserve and a nature reserve. It is found in a range of habitats, including the slopes of hills in brown loam over laterite as an emergent mallee and in white sand on gentle valley slopes in low Powder-Barked Wandoo (Eucalyptus accedens) woodland. It also occurs on grey sand and laterite with Coastal Blackbutt (Eucalyptus todtiana), in grey sandy clay loam on the slopes of a drainage line between two breakaways, and in grey sand and lateritic gravel with Marri (Corymbia calophylla) and Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) over open low scrub.
Eucalypts such as the Scaly-Butt Mallee are highly adapted to surviving fires – a regular occurrence in Australian landscapes. Seedlings tend to be slow-growing, as energy is channelled into the production of a lignotuber, a woody structure at the base of the stems. After fire has removed or damaged above-ground parts of an established plant, a number of replacement stems are initiated from the lignotuber, producing the multi-stemmed mallee form. Fire also stimulates germination of some eucalypts seed.
The main threats to the Scaly-Butt Mallee include farming operations such as ploughing, grazing by domestic stock (cattle) and rabbits, habitat clearing and fragmentation, inappropriate fire regimes, and gravel extraction in some cases.
Featuring the Scaly-Butt Mallee as our #ThreatenedSpecies of the Week this week is significant as March 23 marks National Eucalyptus Day.
Information Source: Government of Australia, Department of Environment and Energy and Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and Florabase.