Eucalyptus apiculata

Narrow-leaved Mallee Ash

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus apiculata, the Narrow-leaved Mallee Ash, is a small tree that will reach a height of 6 metres, mostly growing as a mallee in the wild. 

It is endemic to NSW, growing as far north as east of Kandos, and south and south-east to the southern highlands near Tallong and east to Wollongong-region.

It typically grows on shallow sandy soils on sandstone, forming part of mallee shrubland. 

Bark is smooth, white or grey-green and shed in strips.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile leaves are lanceolate, to 16 cm long and 2 cm wide, dark glossy-green – starting off opposite and sessile and then with petioles. Adult leaves are narrow-lanceolate, very pointed, glossy green and up to 12 cm long by up to 1 cm or less 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 7, to 1 cm long, with warted bud-caps (opercula). Flowers are white and appear in spring to summer. 

The fruit of eucalypts are a woody capsule (commonly called ‘gum nuts’) which come in a wide variety of shapes with the top part having a sunken, flat or raised disc and with the valves inserted, disc-level, exserted to strongly exserted. In this species, fruits are cup to urn-shaped, to about 1 cm long and wide, with enclosed valves.

In the garden

E. apiculata is an attractive small tree that is small enough to be accommodated in suburban backyards. It is known to be used in landscapes and there is some good cultivation information available online (see references). Prefers a well-drained soil and a cool climate to thrive. It has high drought tolerance and moderate frost tolerance. Can be pruned back to keep plants at low height.  

Cultivated specimens usually make do with a single trunk.


Propagate from seed.

Other information

This species can regenerate from fire using the lignotubuer to reshoot as well as epicormic shoots. It can also regenerate from seed.

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).

apiculata – Latin for “apiculate” – meaning “ending abruptly in a point” and refers to the apices (top) of the  leaves. The Narrow-leaved Mallee Ash was named in 1902 from material collected near Berrima, southern NSW.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. It is somewhat rare and has a limited geographic range. 

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

EUCLID – Eucalypts of Australia – Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research – Eucalyptus apiculata profile page                                    https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/eucalyptus_apiculata.htm

Australian National Herbarium – Eucalyptus apiculata profile page          https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2004/eucalyptus-apiculata.html

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