Eucalyptus gillii

Silver Mallee / Curly Mallee

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus gillii is a small tree reaching a height of 8 metres with a spread of several metres. Bark is smooth over most of the trunk with persistent flaky bark at the base.

It grows in NSW in the far west – in and north of Broken Hill. It extends west into South Australia, where it is common in the Flinders Ranges (near to Lake Frome and to the north, west and south). 

It grows in Mulga country (Acacia anuera) on sand plains and forms mallee scrub.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile leaves are grey-blue, to about 6 cm long and wide, ovate to cordate and sessile (without petioles). Adult leaves are lanceolate to broadly ovate to cordate, to 8 cm long and about 3.5 cm wide. They may be green, grey-green or blue-grey. It is stated that the canopy is, in most cases, composed mainly of juvenile leaves.

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, buds have a horn-shaped operculum and are carried in umbellasters of 3-9. Flowers are two centimetres across, pale yellow, profuse and conspicuous. The flowering period extends from June to December.

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, capsules are round to barrel-shaped, to about 9 mm long and wide.

In the garden

Eucalyptus gillii is an attractive small tree with interesting buds and flowers. The foliage could be used in cut flower arrangements. It has very attractive deep yellow flowers which would benefit any garden. It can be cultivated and may grow in a range of conditions. 

Grows naturally on sandy soils with good drainage. 


Propagate by seed.

Other information

Curley Mallee is an early common name and refers to its twisted growth habit making it hard for the stockmen of history to ride through.

This species can regenerate after fire from the lignotuber. It may 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).

gillii – The species is named after Walter Gill (1851-1929) – an Englishman who came to South Australia. He was a scientific forester and plant collector, and spent a lot of his life educating people about Australian vegetation. The type specimen was collected by Gill, about 600 kilometres north of Adelaide, South Australia and named in 1912.

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

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

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

Australian Seed – Eucalyptus gillii page                        https://www.australianseed.com/shop/item/eucalyptus-gillii

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