Brush box

Scientific name

Lophostemon confertus. Family: Myrtaceae

Other names

Pink box; Scrub box


  • Medium-size tree grows 35–40m.
  • Stem diameter of 1–2m.
  • Trunk is usually straight with good form.
  • Bark is about 10mm thick, light grey to brown
  • Bark on lower trunk is rough and semi-fibrous.
  • Bark on upper trunk and main branches is smooth, coppery brown to pink.


  • Occurs as mature, residual trees in rainforest, and commonly extends to wet sclerophyll and moist open forests; from Newcastle, New South Wales to Maryborough, Queensland.
  • Isolated stands occur on Blackdown Tableland (Rockhampton), Mt Dryanden (Proserpine), Paluma Range (Townsville), Mission Beach (Tully), Mt Garnet, Herbert Range (Atherton) and Windsor Tableland (Mossman).



  • Heartwood ranges from pink-brown to red-brown but is highly variable between trees.
  • Sapwood is usually slightly paler in colour.


  • Close and evenly textured.
  • Often with curly interlocking grain.



  • Marine piles.


  • General house framing.
  • Flooring.
  • Lining.
  • Cladding.
  • Laminated beams.
  • Joinery.


  • Plywood.
  • Turnery.
  • Laminated bench tops (residential, industrial).
  • Joinery.
  • Parquetry.


  • Used in the past for mallet heads, croquet mallets, textile industry (bobbins and shuttles), butcher´s blocks, boat building (knees).


  • Density: 880kg/m3 at 12% moisture content; about 1.1m3 of seasoned sawn timber per tonne.
  • Strength groups: S3 unseasoned; SD3 seasoned.
  • Stress grades: F8, F11, F14, F17 (unseasoned), F14, F17, F22, F27 (seasoned), when visually stress-graded according to AS 2082—2000, Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes.
  • Joint groups: J2 unseasoned; JD2 seasoned.
  • Shrinkage to 12% MC: 9.7% (tangential), 4.4% (radial).
  • Unit shrinkage: 0.38% (tangential), 0.24% (radial)—these values apply to timber reconditioned after seasoning.
  • Durability above-ground: Class 3 (life expectancy 7–15 years).
  • Durability in-ground: Class 3 (life expectancy 5–15 years).
  • Lyctine susceptibility: sapwood is not susceptible to lyctine borer attack.
  • Termite resistance: resistant.
  • Preservation: sapwood readily impregnates with preservative, unlike the heartwood, where penetration is negligible using available commercial processes.
  • Seasoning: be careful when seasoning—minimise distortion when drying by closely stripping (maximum 300mm centres) the boards.
  • Hardness: hard (rated 2 on a 6-class scale) to indent and work with hand tools.
  • Machining: abrasive to machine cutters and tools due to silica in the wood.
  • Fixing: no difficulty using standard fittings and fastenings.
  • Gluing: as with most high-density species, machine and prepare the surface immediately before gluing.
  • Finishing: readily accepts stain, polish and paint.

Identification features

General characteristics

  • Sapwood: pale greyish brown.
  • Heartwood: pink-brown to red-brown, often varies.
  • Texture: fine and uniform, grain often interlocked.

Wood structure

  • Growth rings: absent.
  • Vessels: small, visible with the aid of a lens, numerous, solitary and diffuse; tyloses are common.
  • Parenchyma (soft tissue): not visible under a lens.

Other features

  • Burning splinter test: produces a full ash, white to brown.

Research and resources

  • Boland, DJ, Brooker, MIH, Chippendale, GM, Hall, N, Hyland, BPM, Johnston, RD, Kleinig, DA and Turner, JD 2006, Forest trees of Australia, 5th ed., CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  • Bootle, K 2005, Wood in Australia: Types, properties and uses, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill, Sydney.
  • Ilic, J 1991, CSIRO atlas of hardwoods, Crawford House Press, Bathurst, Australia.
  • Queensland Government, DAF 2018, Construction timbers in Queensland: properties and specifications for satisfactory performance of construction timbers in Queensland. Class 1 and Class 10 buildings, Books 1 & 2, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  • Standards Australia, 2000, AS 2082—2000: Timber—Hardwood—Visually stress-graded for structural purposes, Standards Australia International, Strathfield, NSW.