To Bayley Balfour   18 September 1879




In looking more closely through vol XIII part II of the transactions of the Bot. Society of Edinburgh, dear Prof. Balfour, and admiring your excellent essay on Halophila,1 I came across a reprint of a South Australian parliamentary report on Eucalypts.2 How this document could ever have got access to any scientific journal is an enigma to me, as its data are mostly crude and some incorrect. I have said something about this in the 4th Decade of my Eucalyptus Atlas, under E. Planchoniana.3 Of any acknowledgement of the sources, from whence that information which is worth having, did really come, could be not thought4 However this must remain " entre nous ",but you may have means to exercise through your worthy father or by others some censorship over future communications of these kinds. E. siderophloia does not at all occur in S. Australia. That acetic acid, tar, woodspirit &c are obtainable from any kind of wood is well known (i.e. by dry distillation), so bark-paper material, all of which I furnished for the Exhibition of Paris in 18675 from many kinds of Bark, some Eucalypts included.6

If you wrote to the India-office, you might, if you cared, get a copy of my Indian Edition of the "select plants" 7 brought out in Calcutta on Expense of the Government. It is an enlarged & revised edition. I think we must keep Hydrocharideae apart from Najadeae just as much as Amaryllideae from Liliaceae, though Halophila is in some respects intermediate.


Ferd. von Mueller



Eucalyptus Planchoniana

Eucalyptus siderophloia





Balfour (1879).
R. Schomburgk laid a report before the South Australian Parliament in early 1878. It was reproduced as 'South Australian "Eucalypts"', in South Australian register , 11 February 1878, p. 6.
In B79.13.11, second page of letterpress, M wrote 'a document, presented not very long ago to Parliament in a neighbouring colony and reproduced in the Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, vol xiii pag. lxv-lxvi [i.e. 1879, in 'Proceedings of the Botanical Society. Session XLII'] … would lead to the [misleading] impression [that only three species of Eucalyptus ] furnish wood vinegar … and tar.'
Schomburgk did not cite any sources for his information.
Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1867. See M to H. Manners-Sutton, 23 November 1866;, and B67.13.08, pp. 243-50.
In the second half of this paragraph M is explicitly rebutting claims in Schomburgk's report.

Please cite as “FVM-79-09-18d,” in Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, edited by R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells accessed on 7 October 2022,