Red Coolibah

Common Name(s): Coolibah, Coolibah burl

Scientific Name: Eucalyptus coolabah, Eucalyptus microtheca

Distribution: Australia

Red Coolibah or simply coolibah is a species of eucalyptus coolabahs. It is considered as the eucalypt of riparian zones. The tree is found abundantly throughout Australia. The arid inland and coastal regions are the habitats of Red Coolibah. The other common names of this tree are Coolabah or coolibah. The word derived from gulabaa, an Indigenous Australian Yuwaallyaay word.

Wide-spreading nature of E. Coolabah is well known. In fact, it grows wider than its height. It can grow up to 20 meters or 66 feet. The bark of this tree looks like a box. It has a persistent dark grey color. Lower branches and trunk are furrowed and thick, but the top is smooth, pale grey. Adult leaves appear as dull, concolorous, and grey-green. The length of the leaf blade is 8-17 centimeters and the width is 1-2 cms.

The tree flourishes in extensive areas of floodplain because the seeds of this tree need to be immersed in water to sterilize the seedbeds. It grows abundantly in areas that experience at least periodic flooding.

Both E. coolabahs and E. microtheca are similar. The major external difference between both these species is the latter has rough bark to the small branches. However, the branches of E.coolabah have smooth white, pink, pale grey bark. Once, E. coolabahs were known as E. microtheca. Lots of subspecies fall under this category, hence E.coolabah was separated from it.

Botanists Maxwell Jacobs and William Blakely described this tree at the first time in 1934. They mentioned it in the work, A Key to the Eucalyptus. The species has lots of different synonyms, which include Eucalyptus coolabahs, Eucalyptus gymnoteies, etc.

The typical density of this wood is 900-1,100 km/cubic meter. The heartwood of red coolibah has a reddish brown color. It is much darker than the sapwood. Red coolibah burls are prized for their unique color and figure.

Though severe reactions are not so common, it may cause skin irritation. Red coolibah is commonly sold as blanks or caps. The price of Red Coolibah is almost equal to most other imported Australian burls. This wood species is not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species or CITES Appendices. These woods are used for making gun grips, knife, inlay, turned objects and other specialty items.

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