(Psydrax attenuata)

Also known as: Native Australian Myrtle, Queensland Myrtle (formerly Canthium attenuatum)


Myrtle can be found commonly as small shrubs on sandy or gravelly country anywhere around the Highlands but can grow to 5 or 6 metres high where conditions are right. The largest trunks I have seen were about 200mm diameter but the entire stand had died from the drought - should have been a good thing for me except that they split really badly when left standing dead.  
The flowers have an incredibly addictive, heady scent (couldn't put the sample I grabbed down for the entire trip home) and the fruits shrivel up to look like a currant.
Left: The dead trunk shows the characteristic 'bumpy' texture that gives the timber it's very attractive 'fleck' right through to the heart, very much like the 'birdseye' effect found in some eucalypts.
Right: Some strange 'galls' I found on a Myrtle at Lochington.
I've found that boards sawn from Myrtle are very stable but half-logs for turning keep on cupping as you turn them for a long time - and just when you think it's stabilized and try to take that final cut - it'll cup some more!!! For turnery it would be best used spindle-wise, along the grain.
Myrtle timber is fairly dense and hard but machines OK and sands very well. The timber will take a high polish with ease.


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