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The vast majority of more than 900 different Eucalyptus species are endemic to Australia. Leaves of Eucalyptus species are often very varied in size and shape throughout their development phases. They are classified as; seedling, juvenile, intermediate and adult leaves. Except for seedling leaves, even mature trees can feature all phases of leaves, such as juvenile leaves emerging on new shoots after bush fires or injury. Adult leaves found on mature trees have an alternate arrangement and are characteristically rather strong, smooth and leathery in texture. When a leaf is held against a light source oil glands become visible as translucent dots, which produce the aromatic scent when a leaf is crushed. The fruit becomes hard or woody when mature and releases seeds by opening valves at the apex. It greatly varies in size and shape, making it useful in the identification of different species.
Blackbutt Tree Eucalyptus pilularis
The Blackbutt tree is able to reach heights of more than 60m in its natural habitat of tall open forests ranging from coastal to mountainous locations (Picture 1). Fibrous and rough bark covers the trunk to half or more of its height, which is often blackened at the base due to bush fires, whereas the normal colour is a greyish brown ( 2 & 3). The woody fruit is is either egg (ovoid) or cup-shaped and measures around 1 cm in diameter. It contains 4 sunken valves and produces abundant fine, brown coloured seeds. Adult leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 17 cm long with entire margins, mostly curved lanceolate in shape (falcate), shiny, mid-green on top, same colour beneath (concolorous), strong, firm in texture and scented when crushed (4 & 5). See Leaf Characteristics Page for explanations of definitions used. Distribution: From northern VIC to southern QLD.
How to recognise Australian tree families and genera.
A practical field guide to the identification of native species. More than 200 full colour photographs and detailed descriptions explaining leaf, bark, flower, fruit and other tree characteristics.
New Holland Publishers
Format: Paperback with PVC
Pages: 128 pp.
Size: 13 cm wide x 18 cm high
Blue Gum Eucalyptus saligna Other names: Sydney Blue Gum
This very tall tree species, found on margins of rainforests and in adjoining wet tall forests, grows to a height of more than 60m (Picture 1 & 2). Bark above the short rough barked stocking is very smooth, grey with bluish grey coloured flecks and markings after shedding. On the mid-north coast of NSW mature trees lose their rough bark at the base of the trunk nearly entirely (1,2 & 3). The small woody fruit features 3 or 4 valves with exerted tips and measures up to 5 mm in diameter at the apex (4). Adult leaves with an alternate arrangement are; narrow elliptic in shape, mostly straight or sometimes curved (falcate), up to 18 cm long with entire margins, mid-green above, paler green beneath (discolorous), scented, strong and rather stiff in texture. ( 5). Distribution: NSW south coast to southern QLD.
Blue Mountain Ash Eucalyptus oreades Other names: White Ash, Smooth Barked Mountain Ash
This medium to tall tree is most abundant in the Blue Mountains of NSW, where under favourable conditions it can attain a height of 40m. Its’ natural habitat are open Eucalypt dominated forests at higher altitudes (Picture 1). Bark on the trunk, up to a height of 3m, is rough and grey to brown in colour. Otherwise bark is very smooth in texture and mainly whitish grey, showing longitudinal streaks of darker grey, and areas with yellow to brownish tones (2). The woody fruit is cup or more urn shaped and up to 1 cm in diameter. In the center 4 or 5 small valve tips extend to rim level or slightly above after opening (3). Juvenile leaves, found on sapling trees, are ovate (egg-shaped) and only up to 10 cm long (4). Simple adult leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 17 cm in length, straight lanceolate or curved (falcate) in shape, mid-green on both surfaces (concolorous), strongly scented when crushed, rather thick and firm in texture. Leaf apex gradually narrows into a fine point; base shape is asymmetric (oblique). Distribution: In widely separated regions along the Great Dividing Range, from NSW to southern QLD.
Cadaghi Eucalyptus torelliana Other names: Cadaga
The Cadaghi or Cadaga Eucalyptus torelliana can reach a height of 30m or more and is naturally found on margins of tropical rainforests and adjoining tall, open forests. It also has been extensively planted as an ornamental tree outside its natural habitat. The bark on the lower half of the trunk is brown in colour with a rough and flaky texture, whereas the top half of the trunk and upper branches feature a smooth greyish green bark (2). Clusters (panicles) of white flowers borne at the end of branches measure 2 to 3 cm in diameter and blossom over late spring and early summer (3). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are up to 20 cm long, ovate in shape and hairy on immature specimens (4). Leaves on mature trees are; lanceolate in shape, up to 15 cm in length with entire margins, hairless, dark green and rather dull on upper surface, lighter green below with a firm texture. Leaf apex is acute, base shape is cuneate to rounded. Mid vein is raised on both surfaces and numerous straight lateral veins are obvious. Distribution: Restricted habitat of wet coastal areas and adjacent ranges in tropical QLD (Cairns and surrounding areas). Note: This tree is listed as an invasive species in a number of shires along the NSW north coast. See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
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Flooded Gum Eucalyptus grandis Other names: Rose Gum
The Flooded Gum is very tall forest tree up to 70m in height and prefers moist fertile soils in higher rainfall areas. The specimen shown (Picture 1) resides within the outer margins of subtropical rainforest and is surrounded by rainforest species such as Black Booyong (Argyrodendron actinophyllum) and Yellow Carabeen (Sloanea woollsii). A stocking of rough bark is retained at the base of the tree, but recedes with age (2 & 3). The relative small woody fruit measures only about 5 mm in diameter and features 4 or 5 valves which are slightly exerted above the rim level after opening. Valve tips are claw-like and point inwards, whereas valves tips of the very similar Blue Gum (E.saligna) are spike-like pointing up or outwards (4). Simple adult leaves with alternate arrangement are; lanceolate in shape with entire margins, up to 18 cm in length and curved as intermediate leaves, shorter and straight as adult leaves (middle), scented when crushed. Apex is acute and base shape cuneate. Venation except for mid vein is very faint (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to northern QLD.
Forest Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis Other names: Blue Gum (Qld)
This tall Eucalyptus tree has a wide distribution range along Australia's east coast. It occurs from coastal to mountainous locations and can reach a height of up to 50 metres under ideal conditions (Picture 1). Newly exposed bark is very smooth and has a glossy surface, whereas older bark becomes finely rough and granular in texture. It is different shades of grey in colour and sheds in irregular sized plates, a short stocking of rough bark can be found at the base of the tree (2). Up to ten separate flowers are held on a common stalk measuring up to 3 cm in length. Flower buds are distinctively cone shaped and reach up to 10 mm in length (3). The rounded fruit features 4 or 5 stout and strongly exerted valves ending in sharp tips (4). Simple adult leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 20 cm in length with entire margins, lanceolate in shape, straight or curved (falcate), dull green (dried specimens shown) on top, paler beneath (discolourous) and scented when crushed. Leaf apex very gradually narrows into a fine tip, base shape is cuneate (wedge-shaped). Distribution: From southern Vic, to northern Qld.
Grey Ironbark Eucalyptus paniculata
Under favourable conditions the Grey Ironbark Eucalyptus paniculata can reach a height of more than 40m (Picture 1). Bark is a mid grey in colour, hard and deeply furrowed. On adult specimens the rough bark continues to the smallest branches in a fairly open canopy (Pictures 2 & 3). Buds are a diamond-shaped and up to 10mm in length (4). Simple alternate adult leaves are; up to 14 cm long with entire margins, lanceolate in shape, fairly thin, papery but strong, mid green on top, a lighter grey green beneath with an acute and fine pointed apex (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to NSW mid-north coast.
Grey Gum Small-fruited Eucalyptus propinqua
The small-fruited Grey Gum is a tall and erect tree species up to 45m in height, the straight trunk is often branchless to more than half of the tree's height. It's natural habitat are tall open forests from coastal to mountainous locations (Picture 1 & 2). Old slightly rough and granular bark is shed from the trunk in wide strips or irregular patches exposing new bright orange coloured bark (3). The woody fruit is reverse cone-shaped (obconical) and measures only up to 5 mm in diameter showing 4 valves (4).Simple adult leaves have an alternate arrangement and are; lanceolate in shape, up to 15 cm long with entire margins, dark green above, paler green beneath, firm, leathery in texture and scented when crushed. Leaf apex narrows into a very fine tip, base is broadly wedge-shaped (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to southern QLD.
Lemon-scented Gum Eucalyptus citriodora Other names: Lemon-scented Iron Gum, Spotted Iron Gum
Strongly lemon-scented leaves have given this tree its' name and are of great help when identifying this species, as it is of similar appearance to the Spotted Gum E. maculata. Mainly found in open forests along the coastal ranges it is a medium to large sized tree reaching heights of more than 30m with a columnar and upright trunk (Picture 1). Bark is shades of grey to bluish grey in colour without retaining any rough bark at the base, hard and smooth in texture. It is shed in small irregular plates exposing dark grey (blue grey) colored patches of fresh bark causing the mottling effect (more noticeable in wet times) (2). The woody fruit is mostly urn shaped, up to 1.5 cm in length and shows fine ridges and small warts (3). Simple leaves have an alternate arrangement. Juvenile leaves are up to 20 cm in length with entire margins, broadly lanceolate to nearly obovate in shape. Venation is more obvious in juvenile leaves, showing raised laterals and a clearly visible intra marginal vein (4). Adult leaves are only up to 15 cm long, very narrow lanceolate in shape, firm and strong in texture. All leaves, even dried specimens on the ground emit a strong lemon scent when crushed. Distribution: Mid-north coast NSW to northern QLD ( 2 subspecies E. citriodora ssp. variegata NSW/South QLD. E. citriodora ssp. citriodora N. QLD.)
Messmate Eucalyptus obliqua Other names: Messmate Stringybark
Under favourable conditions this very tall Eucalyptus species can grow to 80 m, but heights of under 50m are more common and in exposed costal locations it may only be the size of a shrub. It has a wide distribution range and prefers mountainous location for best development (Picture 1). Trunks on tall trees are columnar and branchless to half or more of its height (2). Bark is a reddish brown in colour with older surfaces weathering to grey. It is rough, furrowed and rather soft, fibrous in texture (3). The woody fruit varies from barrel shaped to more urn shaped and measures up to 12 mm in length. It has a rough surface and 3 or 4 slightly sunken valves (4). Simple adult leaves with an alternate arrangement are; broadly lanceolate or curved (falcate) in shape, up to 15 cm in length with entire margins, dark green, semi-glossy on top, similar green beneath (concolorous), firm and leathery in texture. Leaf apex tapers into a fine point, base shape is oblique (asymmetric). Leaf stalk measures up to 20 mm in length (5). Distribution: TAS, SA, VIC, NSW and southern QLD.
New England Blackbutt Eucalyptus andrewsii subspecies andrewsii
This tall Eucalyptus species prefers locations at higher altitudes along the Great Dividing Range, where under good conditions it can reach a height of 40m or more. In tall open forests it develops a straight trunk devoid of major branches up to the height of the relatively open crown (Picture 1). Bark on mature trees shows vertical fissures and is rough and coarsely fibrous in texture. Weathered outside bark is grey in colour, fresh underlying bark light brown (2). Up to 15 separate flowers buds are grouped on a common stalk (peduncle) measuring up to 2 cm in length. Individual buds are up to 0.5 cm long and start appearing over winter time (3). The woody fruit is half rounded in shape and measures up to 5 mm in diameter, it shows 4 or sometimes 5 valves on level with the very wide rim (4). Simple adult leaves are; up to 18 cm in length with entire margins, falcate (sickle shaped) or more lanceolate, the same mid-green on both surfaces, rather dull, strong and leathery in texture. Leaf stalk (petiole) yellowish in colour and up to 2.5 cm long. Leaf apex very gradually narrows into a fine tip, base shape is uneven (oblique). Venation is inconspicuous showing a network of wavy lateral veins under closer inspection (5). Distribution: Higher country from the mid-north coast of NSW to central Qld.
Pink Bloodwood Eucalyptus intermedia [Corymbia intermedia]
The Pink Bloodwood tree is a medium to tall tree species reaching 35m or more in height and is found in open tall forests (Picture 1). Bark, continuing to small branches, is a pale grey brown colour, rough and scaly in texture with patches of exposed resin (kino) often visible (2). The rather open canopy can spread to a wide margin (3). The woody fruit is urn or more barrel shaped and measures up to 2 cm in length, the outer surface is very rough, covered in small warts and speckles. Four deep seated valves release reddish brown seeds enclosed in a papery wing (4). Alternately arranged adult leaves are; lanceolate to broad lanceolate in shape with entire margins, between 8 to 16 cm in length, dark green on top, paler green beneath, faintly scented when crushed, strong and firm in texture. Older leaves often turn red before falling (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to northern QLD.
Red Bloodwood Tree Eucalyptus gummifera [Corymbia gummifera]
This tall native tree species is found in tall open (Eucalypt dominated) forests growing to a height of 45 m (Picture 1). Distinctive feature of this tree is the red sticky resin (kino), produced where an injury occurred or as a protection against termite attack (2). Bark is a reddish brown weathering to gray with a flaky, scaly texture covering the whole tree to the smallest branches ( 3). The woody fruit produced is urn-shaped and measures up to 2 cm in length. Four deep seated valves release brown coloured seeds with a small surrounding flange (4). Adult leaves on mature specimens are; alternately arranged, lanceolate in shape with entire margins, dark green on top, paler green beneath, faintly scented and up to 15 cm long. Closely spaced straight lateral veins are visible (5). Distribution: From VIC to southern QLD.
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Red Mahogany Eucalyptus resinifera Subspecies: hemilampra Other names: Red Messmate
Red Mahogany Eucalyptus resinifera is a tall tree reaching heights of more than 40m and occurs mainly in tall open forests (Picture 1). The reddish brown bark is very stringy, fibrous in texture and can exude some resin (2). Flower buds are an elongated cone shape and measure up to 12 mm in length (3). The fruit can vary in shape from ovoid to more cup shaped and reaches up to 12 mm in length. 3 or sometimes 4 sharply pointed valve tips extend beyond the flat rim and release numerous fine brown seeds (4). Simple adult leaves are up to 12 cm long, mainly broadly lanceolate in shape with entire margins and an alternate leaf arrangement (5). Distribution: South coast of NSW to southern QLD.
Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus signata
This medium size tree species is most often found in wetter coastal areas or open forests attaining a height of up to 25m (Picture 1). The bark is smooth and firm, white to light grey in colour showing the distinctive scribbles (2). Branch work is limited to a a few steep angled main branches holding a very open canopy (3). Fruit is relatively small at 5 to 7mm in diameter and length featuring 4 exerted valves not raised above the level rim (4). The simple leaves (adult) with an alternate arrangement are; up to 15 cm long with entire margins (deformation are visible), lanceolate in shape, firm and leathery, hairless and scented, semi glossy and mid green in colour on both surfaces. Venation is faint but visible showing numerous straight lateral veins (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to southern QLD.
Shinning Gum Eucalyptus nitens
Under ideal conditions this very tall tree is able to reach more than 80m in height. It prefers mountainous areas with high rainfall totals on the Great Dividing Range (Picture 1). Bark except for a short stocking at the base is smooth in texture and shades of grey in colour. It sheds in long narrow strips which often decorate the upper branches (2). Groups of up to 7 separate flower buds are borne on a common stalk (peduncle) up to 12 mm in length (3). The fruit is barrel shaped and relatively small at only 5 to 6 mm in length. It features mostly 3 valves with pointed tips reaching rim level or slightly above (4). The simple leaves (adult) with an alternate arrangement are; up to 30 cm long with entire margins, narrow lanceolate in shape, firm and leathery, hairless, glossy when fresh and mid green in colour on both surfaces (concolorous). Leaf apex very gradually narrows into a fine tip, base shape is cuneate. Distribution: VIC & NSW.
Snow Gum Eucalyptus pauciflora Other names: Cabbage Gum, White Sally
Depending on location the Snow Gum can be a stunted shrub in alpine terrain or under more favourable conditions a medium sized tree. There are 4 recognised subspecies; Eucalyptus pauciflora ssp. pauciflora (shown), ssp. niphophila, ssp. lacrimans and ssp. debeuzevillei (Picture 1). Fresh bark is smooth in texture and colours range from white to dark grey with pink and yellow hues. Bark is shed in irregular patches or in short broad strips (2). Flower buds are club-shaped (clavate) and measure up to 1cm in length. A maximum of 15 buds are borne on a common stalk (peduncle) reaching 15 mm in length, pedicels are not present or only very short (3). The shape of the fruit is varied from cup-shaped (cupular) to more upside down cone-shaped (obconical). It measures up to 15 mm in length with mostly 3 rounded valves reaching the height of the broad rim (4). Simple leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 16 cm long, lance-shaped, straight or slightly curved, glossy, dark green on both surfaces, strong and leathery in texture. Longitudinal veins are obvious (5). Distribution: TAS, SA, VIC, NSW and south-eastern QLD.
Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata
The distinctive bark is one of the first identification feature of the Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata. Under favourable conditions this tall tree species can reach 45m or more in height. Its habitat ranges from close proximity to the coast to open forests along the ranges (Picture 1). The very smooth bark covers the whole tree (no rough stocking) and is various tones of grey in colour, relating to the maturity of bark after shedding in irregular rounded plates (2). Ovoid shaped flower buds are up to 1cm in length (3). The fruit shown is in its' early development stage, still green in colour turning brown and woody with age. It measures up to 15 mm in length with deeply sunken valves and a thick rim (4). Alternate simple adult leaves are: up to 20 cm long with entire margins, lanceolate in shape (image is showing intermediate leaves which are slightly broader), grey green on top and similar coloured below, firm and leathery in texture. Apex is gradually tapering into a fine point (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to NSW mid-north coast. Similar in appearance to E. citriodora, but leaves of this species are not lemon-scented.
See Flower Characteristics Page and Leaf Characteristics Page for information on terms used.
Swamp Mahogany Eucalyptus robusta Other names: Swamp Messmate
The Swamp Mahogany reaches a height of about 30m with main branches starting at more than half the height of the normally straight trunk (Picture 1). Bark is persistent to the smallest branches; softly fibrous in texture and a light reddish brown in colour (2 & 3). The cylindrical shaped fruit is up to 16mm long and 10mm across featuring mostly 4 valves slightly raised above the rim level (4). Simple alternately arranged leaves are; up to 16 cm long with entire margins, broad lanceolate in shape which is a good identification characteristic, firm, leathery and scented when crushed. Venation overall is faint, mid vein raised on lower surface with numerous and straight lateral veins (5). Distribution: Coastal areas from NSW south coast to central QLD.
Tallowwood Eucalyptus microcorys
Eucalyptus microcorys is a very tall tree species and can grow to more than 60 m in height with a trunk diameter of more than 2 m (Picture 1). Bark is mostly light brown with a red tinge in colour and a soft fibrous texture (2). In winter to early spring (NSW north coast) masses of scented small white flowers appear, being held in groups of up to 12 in axillary joints towards the end of small branches (3). Fruit is small at up to 4 mm across with 3 or sometimes 4 valves (4). Simple leaves on adult specimens are up to 14 cm long with small irregular crenate margins and lanceolate in shape. Juvenile leaves are broadly ovate and up to 8 cm long (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to southern QLD.
Thin-leaved Stringybark Eucalyptus eugenioides [E.nigra]
The Thin-leaved Stringybark is an abundant tall tree reaching 35m in height under ideal conditions. It is very similar in appearance to a number of other stringybarks, such as the White Stringybark (E. globoidea) Tindale's Stringybark (E.tindaliae) (Picture 1). Older bark weatheres to grey and fissures on the surface to expose a red brown underlayer of fresh bark, texture is very rough and fibrous(2). The fruit is hemisperical in shape measuring up to 8mm in diameter and can be mishaped when appearing in tight clusters. A broad disc and 4 slightly exerted valve tips are typical(3). The fine seed is roughly pyramid-shaped and brown to dark brown in colour (4). Simple adult leaves with an alternate arrangement are; up to 13 cm long, lanceolate (lance-shaped) or falcate (sickle-shaped), glossy green on both surfaces when fresh and scented when crushed. The leaf base shape is noticeable asymetric (oblique). Juvenile leaves are broader and up to 15 cm long (5). Distribution: NSW south coast to southern QLD.
White Mahogany Eucalyptus acmenoides Other names: Yellow Stringybark
Under favourable conditions White Mahogany Eucalyptus acmenoides can grow up to 60m in height with trunk a measuring up to 1.5 m in diameter (Picture 1). Bark is greyish light brown, very fibrous and stringy, covering all parts of the tree (2 & 3). Fruit is up to 7 mm across and has mostly 4 valves (4). Simple adult leaves with an alternate arrangement and entire margins are up to 12 cm long and lanceolate in shape, whereby juvenile leaves are broader and reach 15 cm in length (5). Distribution: NSW central coast to Central QLD.