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Darke Peak mallee facts for kids

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Darke Peak mallee
Eucalyptus cretata.jpg
Eucalyptus cretata seedling in Maranoa Gardens
Scientific classification
E. cretata.JPG
E. cretata, field distribution

Eucalyptus cretata, commonly known as Darke Peak mallee or chalky mallee, is a species of mallee or, rarely, a small, straggly tree and is endemic to a restricted part of South Australia. It has smooth whitish and grey bark, lance-shaped adult leaves, glaucous flower buds in groups of seven, white flowers and cup-shaped to barrel-shaped or conical fruit.


Eucalyptus cretata is a mallee, sometimes a straggly tree, that typically grows to a height of about 4 m (13 ft) and forms a lignotuber. The bark is smooth, grey over coppery underbark, shedding in ribbons, and the branchlets are shiny red or brownish green and glaucous. Young plants and coppice regrowth have glaucous, egg-shaped to broadly lance-shaped leaves that are 45–100 mm (1.8–3.9 in) long and 25–50 mm (0.98–1.97 in) wide. Adult leaves are lance-shaped, the same colour on both sides, 78–150 mm (3.1–5.9 in) long and 13–35 mm (0.51–1.38 in) wide on a petiole 12–28 mm (0.47–1.10 in) long. The flower buds are arranged in groups of seven in leaf axils on a peduncle 5–15 mm (0.20–0.59 in) long, the individual buds on a pedicel up to 4 mm (0.16 in) long. Mature buds are glaucous, cylindrical to oval, 8–14 mm (0.31–0.55 in) long and 4–8 mm (0.16–0.31 in) wide with a striated, conical to rounded operculum. Flowering occurs spasmodically and the flowers are white. The fruit is a woody, cup-shaped to barrel-shaped or conical capsule 6–10 mm (0.24–0.39 in) long and 7–11 mm (0.28–0.43 in) wide, often glaucous at first, and with the valves at the level of the rim.

Taxonomy and naming

Eucalyptus cretata was first formally described in 1990 by Peter Lang and Ian Brooker from a specimen collected by Lang near Darke Peak in 1989. The description was published in the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. The specific epithet (cretata) is a Latin word meaning "marked with chalk", referring to the chalky bloom on the branchlets and flower buds.

Distribution and habitat

Darke Peak mallee grow in mallee communities on the central Eyre Peninsula, between Caralue Bluff Conservation Park, Lock and Cowell.

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