Lophostemon confertus syn Tristania conferta
Variegated Brisbane Box or Brush Box.
Flowering over the spring is a tree closely related to the Eucalyptus called Lophostemon confertus syn. Tristania conferta commonly called Brisbane Box or Brush Box which comes from North East New South Wales to Queensland.
The form we have here is the variegated form “variegata” and is smaller growing than the true species which can grow to thirty metres in height and up to 12 metres across!
This plant has wonderful rusty-brown, smooth bark which peels to give a lighter bark underneath. The lower trunk on mature trees becomes rough barked. New foliage tends to have a reddish tinge and the leaves mature to a glossy cream and green broad eucalypt-like leaf. Occasionally a branch will revert to green leaves and this should be pruned off as the green branch can grow faster and even take over.
Flowers are white, fragrant and about 20 to 30 mm across and are sometimes described as starfish or star shaped. These are followed by three valved woody capsules.
This tree is tolerant of coastal conditions, droughts and poor drainage. They will grow in any soil type and seem to be disease and pest resistant.
Timber is very even and close grained. Colour is pinkish-brown to reddish-brown and the species produce good timber.
The University of Hawaii says that it is a nitrogen fixing tree though I haven’t found further references to this.
A not easily obtainable tree as they have to be grafted (which is difficult) but they are worth growing in the larger garden.