Jarrah

Jarrah

Common name Jarrah
Botanical name Eucalyptus marginata
Family Myrtaceae
Natural range West Australia
Mature height to 50m
Form Long, straight trunk with bushy crown
Likes Well-drained sites, full sun
Dislikes Waterlogging, Phytophthera
Where to plant Native gardens
Known for The hardest hardwood!

Discover the Jarrah, an Australian Icon

Unearth the captivating story of the Jarrah, scientifically known as Eucalyptus marginata. Towering at an impressive height of up to 50 meters and characterized by a lengthy, straight trunk capped with a dense crown, the Jarrah is a celebrated figure of Western Australia’s natural beauty. It’s renowned for its extraordinary hardwood, laying claim to the title of the hardest amongst all.

What Makes Jarrah the Choice of Timber Craftsmen?

The Jarrah tree, with its stringy, fibrous bark and shiny, rounded fruits, leaves an enduring impression from early childhood. Its standout feature, however, is the unique wood it produces. Known for its unmatched hardness, durability, and striking beauty when handled with precision, Jarrah wood is a timber craftsman’s delight.

Though Jarrah trees also contribute to the beekeeping industry with their dark, full-bodied honey, the spectacular timber is its crowning glory. The dense, straight trunks yield termite-resistant timber, richly coloured and beautifully patterned. It’s a favourite among craftsmen for making cabinets, flooring, panelling, and crafting elegant outdoor furniture.

Why Does Jarrah Wood Stand Out in Construction?

In its fresh or ‘green’ state, Jarrah is quite workable, but as it ages and seasons, it hardens extraordinarily, rendering standard woodworking tools nearly useless. This unique characteristic has resulted in Jarrah’s widespread use in construction. Tracing back to the 19th century, numerous roads globally were paved with Jarrah blocks, further covered with asphalt. Its deep, rich reddish-brown hue coupled with an attractive grain has made it a reliable material for railway sleepers and jetty piles.

What Makes Jarrah a Rare and Valued Species Today?

Fast forward to the present day, and Jarrah has become harder to find. Extensive logging of old-growth trees and the scarcity of sustainable Jarrah timber sources have made it more valuable.

Despite superficial similarities, Jarrah should not be mistaken for the Marri tree (Corymbia calophylla). The telltale sign of a Jarrah is its dark, stringy bark, whereas Marri boasts a rough, tessellated bark often seeping with dark sap or ‘kino’.

How Do You Distinguish Jarrah from Marri?

One of the distinctive features that set Jarrah apart from Marri are their fruits. Jarrah’s fruits are small and rounded, while Marri possesses larger, urn-shaped nuts, colloquially known as ‘honky nuts’ in Western Australia.

Jarrah trees are known to shed their bark in fibrous strips, and they have a regenerative structure that allows them to recover post-bushfires. While hardy, they have shown susceptibility to the Phytophthora disease, and their roots are sensitive to waterlogging.

Fascinating Facts and Further Reading on Jarrah

Interestingly, the name ‘Jarrah’ is derived from the Noongar people’s word (indigenous Australians of South West Australia) for the tree. For those keen on a more in-depth understanding of this fascinating tree, consider visiting the “Forest Products Commission’s page on Jarrah” and “Bush Heritage Australia’s Jarrah page”.

To wrap it up, the Jarrah tree is much more than a provider of hardwood. Its resilience, splendour, and crucial role in diverse ecosystems make it an irreplaceable component of Australia’s rich natural heritage. Whether you’re a homeowner, gardener, or a nature enthusiast, the Jarrah tree opens up a world of understanding and appreciation of Australia’s diverse biodiversity.

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