Eucalyptus fastigata

Brown Barrel

Family: Myrtaceae

Potentially a very tall tree, reaching 50 metres in some habitats. It has a sturdy straight trunk with fibrous-stringybark at the base, but does not form a lignotuber.

The upper limbs have bare-smooth bark, white-to-grey with bark shedding in long ribbon.

It grows mainly NSW tablelands, but also occurs on the south coast. It extends from eastern Victoria, north along the NSW south coast and tablelands divisions, through the central coast and tablelands divisions, into the northern tablelands near Ebor.

There is at least one record near Noosa in Queensland. It is found in wet sclerophyll forest, usually on soils of higher fertility – basalt and shale most commonly.

It forms a dominant component of many vegetation types in some areas, some of which can be quite scenic – such as on moist ground with basalt rocks and a moist fern, grass and forb ground layer. It is the dominant remnant tree scattered through Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens.

The juvenile foliage / coppicing growth is disjunct, ovate to elliptic and glossy green.

The adult laves are also disjunct, lanceolate to 15 cm long and to 3 cm wide, green and glossy and concolorous or can be discolorous. The leaves have very prominent venation which helps identification.

The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in groups (umbellasters) of 11 to 15. The umbellasters are paired in the leaf axils; a very rare feature in eucalypts which aids identification. Mature buds are clavate (club-shaped) to 6 mm long and 3 mm wide with a conical and slightly-beaked operculum / calyptra. Flowering occurs between December and February and the flowers are white.

The capsules are conical to pyriform (pear-shaped), to 8 mm long and 7 mm wide with valves usually rim-level to exserted.

In the garden

Not overly common in gardens and cultivation but they can be observed growing in lawns and gardens surrounding houses in areas such as the southern highlands of NSW. They can grow to be very large so not suited to small gardens. Very useful and attractive in large gully landscapes on higher fertility soils, as well as along creeklines. They can be very grandiose when large. Excellent specimen and shade tree in a larger landscape. There are very attractive trees in the lawn areas at Mt Tomah Botanic Gardens.

Eucalypts 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.


Eucalyptus can be propagated by seeds which is most common method or grafting.
Cuttings are difficult to start, but can be used in some species.

Other information

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

Considered to appear very similar to the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) – Australia’s tallest tree species.

Regenerates from seed after fire as well as epicormic shoots. 

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).

fastigata – this is reported to be a corruption of fastigiata which is Latin for “having spreading or erect branches which are almost parallel so as to create a column-like shape or appearance” (horticultural term is “fastigiate”)

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

“Field Guide to Eucalypts Vol 1 South Eastern Australia’ M.I.H.Brooker and D.A.Kleinig. Blooming Books.

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

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

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke