Australia’s sweet smelling mahogany
Jarrah is the Aboriginal name for the eucalyptus tree, Eucalyptus Marginata. As it resembles mahogany when it’s processed, it is sometimes known as Swan River mahogany, after the river that flows through the Western Australian city of Perth, where the best jarrah grows.
Jarrah can grow up to 40-50m tall and have a circumference of around 9m. It can live for around 500 years. Jarrah’s bark is rough and its leaves are dark green, with a pale vein on the moulding, known as the marginata. Jarrah’s exquisitely-scented flowers appear between June and January and sit in clusters of 7-11. Jarrah flowers every two years and is pollinated by bees, so we also get honey from jarrah.
Once it’s dry, it’s rock-hard
Jarrah is easy to work with straight after felling. But as soon as it has dried, it turns so hard that working it with conventional tools can be very challenging. Jarrah is extremely durable and weather-resistant, even in very damp, watery environments. This is why, over the years, jarrah has been used for bridges, fencing, boat-building, railway sleepers and telegraph poles. A lot of jarrah has also been exported to the UK, where it’s been split and covered with asphalt to form roads.