Eucalyptus albens

White Box

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus albens is a tree to 25 metres tall, forming a canopy to 10 metres wide.

It is a common tree in NSW, dominating some parts of the state, growing through the entirety of the western tablelands and central western slopes, just into the far western plains. It extends into Queensland, as far north as a round Kingaroy. It extends into Victoria, into the central and eastern areas, as far south as Melbourne-latitude.

The bark is persistent, light grey to pale and of box-type (finely-tessellated). Branches are smooth and white.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile leaves and adult leaves are grey to bluish-green on both surfaces with juvenile leaves large and orbicular to ovate. Adult leaves are more lanceolate to 15 cm long and 6 cm wide.

The primary inflorescence of “eucalypts” (Angophora / Corymbia / Eucalyptus) is an umbellaster (an umbel-like cluster of flowers). In the flowers of Corymbia and Eucalyptus, the petals and sepals are fused into the distinctive calyptra / operculum (bud cap) which is shed when the flower opens (in some species, 2 bud caps (opercula) are shed). The flowers are conspicuously staminate – where many stamens are basically taking over the role of the petals, all surrounding one central carpel. In this species, the buds are carried in umbellasters of 3 to 7 and are spindle-shaped (see thumbnail) and glaucous – covered in a waxy resin, to about 18 mm long and 7 mm wide. Large, creamy-white flowers are profuse and conspicuous, to about 2 cm across.

Eucalyptus produce a capsule (gum-nut) which house valves which open to release the seed. The fruits (capsules) of some boxes have a cylindrical to urceolate shape. For this species, this editor has heard them described as looking like small champagne-flutes, which is a good description; each to about 15 mm long by 8 mm wide.

In the garden

Eucalyptus albens is too large and overpowering for the average suburban garden but would be an ideal for rural properties.

Bees are attracted to the flowers and they can create good amounts of shade. At flowering time, large honeyeaters and Rainbow Lorikeets fill the trees with strident bird song. Barrel-shaped gum nuts follow the flowers.


Propagate from seed.

Other information

This species can regenerate from fire from lignotubers and epicormic shoots as well as the seed bank.

It is well-known that Eucalyptus is a large and diverse genus. Between 700 and 950 known species are reported, occurring as far north as The Philippines, as well as Indonesia, New Guinea, Timor and Australia. Only 16 species reportedly occur outside Australia. They occur in all Australian states. NSW currently has about 250 species. (See this website for some detailed information: https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/intro/learn.htm).

Eucalyptus – from Greek, eu, “well” or “true” and calyptus, referring to the calyptra (καλύπτρo) or operculum, which is a bud cap or covering which covers the developing flowers. The calyptra is a fusion of petals and/or sepals and is shed when the flower opens, leaving a flower with many stamens (staminate) surrounding one female part (carpel).

albens – Latin for “whitening” (white) – referring to the white waxy hue often seen on the leaves, buds and fruit.

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

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Eucalyptus albens profile page              https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eucalyptus~albens

EUCLID – Eucalypts of Australia – Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/eucalyptus_albens.htm

Greening Australia – Eucalyptus albens factsheet (online pdf)            https://www.greeningaustralia.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/FACT-SHEET_Eucalyptus_albens.pdf

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.