Needlebark, bastard tallow wood

Eucaptus planchoniana

Needlebark (R.H. Anderson, p.168) is a eucalypt that grows in the sandy coastal soils of the NSW North Coast and Southern Queensland. The pollen is 30% crude protein, which is very high, but the essential amino-acid ratio is very poor.

Threonine, valine, methionine and iso-leucine are well below the levels required by honey bees. (Table 36)

Needlebark usually flowers from December to late February, every three to four years. This is the time when beekeepers are usually in the high forests after ironbark and brush box honey. However, needlebark is a honey production option, if these other trees do not flower.

From beekeepers who have worked needlebark, it can best be described as a standby tree. Reports of 10 to 20 kg of dark honey, the bees slowly dwindling and the brood box being filled with honey have been described. However, if another source of pollen such as ground flora or eucalypt is occurring, then the bees will breed satisfactorily and better crops of honey are obtained. This is consistent with the analysis of needlebark pollen, as the other pollens would supplement the low levels of amino-acids in needlebark pollen.

Should needlebark be the only pollen source, a supplementary feeding of soyflour, or feedback, pre-collected pollen could benefit the bees.

Table 36: Needlebark Eucalyptus planchoniana

Minimum % of Amino-Acid from De Groot (1953)
Yamba January 1986 
Threonine 3.0 2.17*
Valine 4.0 2.42*
Methionine 1.5 0.94*
Leucine 4.5 4.10 
Iso-leucine 4.0 2.13*
Phenylalanine 2.5 2.45*
Lysine 3.0 4.13 
Histidine 1.5 1.75 
Arginine 3.0 4.76 
Tryptophan 1.0 -
Crude protein   30.8%

* Low level of this amino-acid


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