Lime chlorosis and other factors affecting the distribution of Eucalyptus on coastal sands in Southern Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • In southern Australia, deep calcareous and deep siliceous sands each carry a distinctive assemblage of eucalypts. Three of these species with contrasting edaphic ranges were investigated: Eucalyptus baxteri, which is widespread on acidic soils and is never found on highly alkaline soils like the calcareous sands; E. incrassata, which is widespread on acidic and neutral soils, occurs occasionally on some highly alkaline soils, but is also absent from calcareous beach sands; and E. diversifolia, which is found on both acidic and highly alkaline soils and is widespread on calcareous beach sands. All three species occur on siliceous sands, with E. baxteri in wetter areas than the other two species. Comparative pot experiments in which typical calcareous and siliceous sands were used showed that: (1) E. baxteri is stunted by severe lime chlorosis when grown on calcareous sand, while the other two species are not affected. (2) E. baxteri markedly outyields the other two species on siliceous sands. It is suggested that E. baxteri is absent from calcareous sands because it is physiologically intolerant of highly alkaline soils, and that E. baxteri replaces the other two species on the wetter siliceous sands because its faster growth rate enables it to outcompete them when rainfall is adequate. However, the slower growth rates of E. diversifolia and E. incrassata will be accompanied by slower rates of water use and this may give them an advantage over E. baxteri on drier siliceous sands. The wide edaphic range of E. diversifolia is considered to be the outcome of the wide physiological tolerance of individual plants rather than of intraspecific differentiation.

publication date

  • 1967