Euroschinus falcatus  Hook.f. 1862  var. falcatus

pronounced: yoo-ro-SKY-nuss fal-KAH-tuss

(Anacardiaceae – the mango family)

common names: Ribbonwood, Maiden’s Blush

euroschinus falcataribbonwood tree euroschinus falcata in flowertree in flower There is a question mark about the derivation of the genus name Euroschinus. While it obviously comes from two Greek words, ευρος (euros), breadth, and σχινος (schinos), the mastich tree (Pistacia lentiscus), ευρος is also the name given to the East wind. So while Euroschinus might mean ‘broad mastich tree’, it might also mean ‘eastern mastich tree’. The mastich tree is a low, shrubby tree that grows in Mediterranean regions, and produces a resin. Falcatus is Latin for 'sickle-shaped'.

Euroschinus falcatus is a fairly small native rainforest tree, with 6-10 sickle-shaped leaflets per leaf. There is sometimes a terminal leaflet, often much reduced. The leaves are usually up to about 25 cm long, and the leaflets, which are more or less opposite, are from 5–9 cm long and 1.5–3 cm wide. The ends of the leaves are pointed. The tree grows to about 8 m, with an open, spreading canopy, and this allows intense sunlight to reach the floor of the habitat, which may be open mixed forest containing some other rainforest species, and often good numbers of Melaleuca.

euroschinus falcata fruitsfruits euroschinus falcataflower detail There is a another variety angustifolia, i.e. narrow-leafed, which grows into a much larger tree, 2 or so metres taller, with a much denser canopy. This one is more often found in remnant rainforest. The very small pinkish flowers, growing in panicles, are followed by fleshy globose fruits, ripening purplish to black, about 1 cm in diameter. These are usually eaten by birds as soon as they ripen.

The flower-eating caterpillar Pingasa chlora feeds on this plant.

The tree pictured is on the corner of Granite and Picnic Streets, Picnic Bay, in the corner of the Police Station yard.                        

I do not know whether or not the fruits of this tree are edible by humans. Authorities I have consulted vary between ‘fruits are delicious’ to ‘not edible’.

The tree is very similar in appearance to the mighty Red Cedar, and was considered, timberwise, to be something of a poor relation. The wood is pinkish (hence Maiden’s Blush), and has a very characteristic scent when freshly cut. It is light, porous, and there is sometimes a yellowish tinge. I have read rave reviews of its suitability for turning in woodworking blogs – almost any type of cut results in a continuous shaving. It sands beautifully, and finishes well for a soft timber. It is also considered by many to be a good cabinet timber.

Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2008, 2010, Arcadia 2014

Page last updated 4th December 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

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