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Eucalyptus curtisii

Plunkett Mallee

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus curtisii, Plunkett Mallee, is a small tree that reaches a height of six metres.

The bark is smooth, leaden grey to greenish-white and is shed in thin strips.

Club-shaped buds are carried in large clusters. White, showy flowers appear in spring and early summer. Fruits are bell-shaped.

In the wild Plunkett Mallee has multi-stemmed (mallee) growth habit. Cultivated plants usually confine themselves to a single trunk.

Eucalyptus curtisii has limited distribution is considered “near threatened” under Queensland legislation. Plunkett Mallee is found in southern Queensland; from the Gold Coast to west of Warwick, north to the west of Bundaberg and north of Taroom.

In the garden

Plunkett Mallee is a very ornamental small tree. Plants will often flower three years after planting. The blooms attract honeyeaters and various insects including native bees.

It is reportedly commonly cultivated and so plants may be able to be sourced, especially in Qld. Check with local native nurseries. 

Propagation

Propagate from seed.

Other information

This species can likely regenerate after fire from the lignotuber and from any seed bank. 

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).

curtisii – honours Densil Curtis (1893-1973) who was a farmer, naturalist and bushman, who collected the type specimen. The species was named in 1931 from material collected in sandstone hills near Plunkett (hence the common name), 53 kilometres southwest of Brisbane, Queensland. 

This species is listed as “near threatened” under Queensland legislation. 

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

Queensland Government – Eucalyptus curtisii species profile page          https://apps.des.qld.gov.au/species-search/details/?id=17256

James Cook University – Australia. Eucalyptus curtisii profile page             https://www.jcu.edu.au/discover-nature-at-jcu/plants/plants-by-scientific-name2/eucalyptus-curtisii

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 Warren and Gloria Sheather