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Blush alder

Scientific name

Sloanea australis ssp. Parviflora. Family: Elaeocarpaceae

Local names

Maiden´s blush; blush carrobean

Description and natural occurrence

A tall slender tree attaining 30 m in height and 1.0 m stem diameter. The trunk is often irregular, crooked and buttressed at the base. The bark is approximately 6 mm thick, rough, scaly and brown in colour.

Widely distributed through the coastal rainforests of the Illawarra district of New South Wales to the Atherton Tableland, North Queensland.

Wood appearance

Colour. Heartwood usually pink to reddish-brown with some distinction between heartwood and sapwood.

Grain. Close and even textured. There is no pronounced figure although a silky sheen is obvious on the surface when dressed.

Wood properties

Density. 625 kg per m3 at 12 percent moisture content; approximately 1.6 m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.

Strength groups. S5 unseasoned; SD6 seasoned.

Stress grades. F5, F7, F8, F11, (unseasoned) F7, F8, F11, F14 (seasoned), when visually stress graded in accordance with AS 2082:2000, Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes.

Joint groups. JD3 seasoned.

Shrinkage to 12% MC. 5.0 per cent (tangential); 2.5 per cent (radial).

Unit shrinkage. Not available.

Durability above-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than seven years.

Durability in-ground. Class 4 - life expectancy less than five years.

Lyctine susceptibility. Untreated sapwood susceptible to lyctine borer attack.

Termite resistance. Resistant.

Preservation. Sapwood readily accepts preservative impregnation but penetration of heartwood is negligible using currently available commercial processes.

Seasoning. Can be dried satisfactorily using conventional air and kiln seasoning methods.

Hardness. Firm (rated 4 on a 6-class scale) in relation to indentation and ease of working with hand tools.

Machining. Machines and turns well to a smooth surface.

Fixing. No difficulty has been experienced with the use of standard fittings and fastenings.

Gluing. Can be bonded satisfactorily using standard procedures.

Finishing. Will readily accept stain, polish and paint.


Construction. Has been used as unseasoned sawn timber for general house framing, and as dressed seasoned flooring, lining, mouldings and joinery.

Decorative. Furniture, plywood, shop and office fixtures, joinery, turnery, carving, picture frames.

Others. Has been used for light boat building, brush stock, broom handles.

Identification features

General characteristics

Sapwood. Lighter in colour than heartwood and can be differentiated from it.

Heartwood. Pink to reddish-brown.

Texture. Fine and uniform, grain occasionally interlocked.

Wood structure

Growth rings. Absent.

Vessels. Numerous, very small, indistinct without a lens, solitary and in radial groups of less than four. Tyloses and deposits absent.

Parenchyma. Not visible under a lens.

Rays. Of two kinds: fairly large and visible without a lens, and fine, difficult to see even with the aid of a hand lens.

Other features. Burning splinter test - A match size splinter burns with a reddish exudation to a fine white partial ash.

Further reading

Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, 'Forest trees of Australia', 5th edn, CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia.

Bootle, K 2005, 'Wood in Australia: types, properties and uses', 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, Sydney.

Hopewell, G (ed.) 2006, 'Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland, Class 1 and Class 10 buildings', books 1 and 2, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.

Ilic, J 1991, 'CSIRO atlas of hardwoods', Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.

Standards Australia, 2000, 'AS 2082-2000: Timber - hardwood - visually stress-graded for structural purposes', Standards Australia.