Angophora subvelutina

Broad-leaved Apple

Family: Myrtaceae

Angophora subvelutina is a large tree up to 20 m tall.

It is a widespread tree but is found primarily in coastal subdivisions, growing north from Araluen on the NSW south coast, along the central and north coasts into Queensland to around the Sunshine Coast and inland. It spreads into the Northern Tablelands and north-western slopes of NSW.

It is typically found on deep alluvial soils in areas such as river terraces and plains. It is common along the Hawkesbury/ Nepean around Richmond and Camden in Sydney and similar alluvial habitats.

The bark is fibrous and continuous, grey-brown, resembling a mahogany or stringybark-type eucalypt. However, the broad-leaved canopy and leaf shape is readily identifiable.

The juvenile foliage / coppicing growth is usually broad-lanceolate to oblong and sessile (without petioles), to 6 cm long and 6 cm wide, green to grey-green / blue-green in colour.

The adult leaves remain opposite to sub-opposite, lanceolate to 10 cm long and up to 5 cm wide with a petiole to 0.2 cm long, green to blue-green. Typically, they are sessile with a cordate base, a useful identification feature.

The leaves are not overly odorous and the underside of the leaves are much paler, with a distinctive fine reticulate venation which aids identification. The leaves are also rough (hispid) to touch.

The primary inflorescence of “eucalypts” (Angophora / Corymbia / Eucalyptus) is an umbellaster (an umbel-like cluster of flowers). In Angophora, the flower still retains its small and free petals and sepals. They are not fused into a calyptra / operculum which is shed, as in Eucalyptus and Corymbia.

Flower buds are produced in umbellasters of 7, ovoid to globose to about 7 mm long and to 7 mm wide. The petals are very short – about 3 mm long and wide. The buds are usually green in colour and hispid. Flowering can be observed in November to January and individual flowers are up to 1 to 2 cm across, bright cream to white.

Like Corymbia spp., Angophora spp. have flowers positioned beyond the foliage at the terminals. The umbellasters are produced in compound groups.

The capsules are ovoid with conspicuous ribs and teeth, smaller than those of A. hispida or A. costata, to 10 mm long by 10 mm wide with a flat disc. Fruits can typically be readily found on the ground, assisting identification.

In the garden

A very nice tree in landscaping and it is used in bushland revegetation projects (where habitat is suitable). It has a very attractive canopy and bark. Old trees can have a very impressive girth at the base (in locations such as farm creeklines and plains). They can grow to a tree about 20 m tall, so not overly suited to small backyards.

However, they could be tried as a specimen tree in a larger yard within a lawn. The canopy is very architectural – blue-green in colour, sessile and sometimes pendulous. The broad leaves create interesting foliage texture.

A reliable tree and easy to grow. It does best on a sandy soil but will establish and grow well on a clay soil. Very useful for creeklines.
Very attractive flowers in Summer. Good shade tree. It could be trained as a mallee once established by frequent cutting and pruning of main stems.
Not overly popular with gardens in these modern times but a very reliable and attractive tree.

Angophora spp. can suffer problems from, caterpillars, leaf eating beetles, psyllids and borers to name a few. In undisturbed conditions, the numbers of eucalypt-feeding insects and their predators and parasites are in balance, so that they rarely cause tree death and most trees quickly recover from attack. In a home situation nature can get out of balance.


Seed works best.
Cuttings are difficult to start, but can be used in some species.

Other information

Angophora is one of three similar genera that are commonly referred to as “eucalypts”, the others being Corymbia and Eucalyptus.

Angophora subvelutina is very similar to Angophora floribunda which it is known to intergrade with.
A. floribunda has leaves on longer petioles and attenuate leaf bases.

Regenerates very quickly after fire from lignotuber and epicormic shoots with coppicing growth. Can also be observed as numerous seedlings in the groundlayer.

Angophora is a genus of 10 to 13 species (dependent on results of ‘lumping’ and ‘splitting’), endemic to Australia, occurring only in the eastern mainland states. All 10 to 13 species can be found in New South Wales. 

Angophora – from the Greek word Angeio (spelt αγγειο) which means “vessels” such as “vases” or “pots”, and –phora meaning “bringing forth” or “carrying”, relating to the vase-like fruits (capsules) of many species.

subvelutina – Latin – sub – “almost” or “below” and –velutinus – meaning “velvet-textured”, referring to the texture of the underside of the leaves.

This species is not considered at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Angophora subvelutina profile page

EUCLID – Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research – Angophora subvelutina profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/angophora_subvelutina.htm

Wikipedia – Angophora subvelutina profile page                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angophora_subvelutina

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Dan Clarke