Eucalyptus kruseana, Bookleaf Mallee, is a multi branched shrub reaching a height of three metres with a spread of one metre.
It occurs in a very limited area of Western Australia, in a few subpopulations east and south-east of Kalgoorlie, near Coonana Timber Reserve and down towards Lake Cowan.
It forms part of mallee-shrublands on granite hills and outcrops.
It is considered rare in the wild but not threatened with extinction.
Bark is smooth, may be grey to coppery and shed in thin strips. Stems have a white-wax coating.
Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile leaves are maintained throughout the life of the species. They are arranged closely packed, in opposite pairs with no petioles (sessile); to about 2.5 cm long and wide; rounded, smooth greyish and waxy-white. The closed packed foliage has given rise to the common name.
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 are waxy-white with cone-shaped opercula, in custers of 7 with buds to about 10 mm long. Flowers are yellow-green, and tend to surround the stems.
Eucalyptus produce a capsule (gum-nut) which house valves which open to release the seed. In this species, capsules are round to cup-shaped and up to eight millimetres in diameter.
This would be one of the best eucalypts for cultivation in suburban gardens. Unpruned plants may become straggly. This is prevented, once plants are established, by cutting back each stem almost to ground level. This will encourage multi-stemmed (mallee) growth.
E. kruseana is a beautiful plant. The leaf arrangement, leaf colour and flowers are all eye-catching features. Foliage may be used in floral arrangements.
It does best in full sun and can cope with coastal environments and some humidity. Allow good drainage. It can suffer from insect damage so this needs to be monitored. It flowers when it is very small. Can tolerate frost to some degree.
Propagate from seed.
The type specimen was collected near Kalgoorlie in 1909. The material was collected by Henry Deane who was surveying the route for the Transcontinental Railway. He was engineer in charge of the project. The lower image shows the herbarium label from the type specimen. At that time the species was known as E. morrisonii.
This species can regenerate from seed after fire as well as resprouting from the lignotuber.
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).
kruseana – The species name refers to John Kruse (1822-1895), a pharmacist who was born in Germany and settled in Melbourne, Victoria and who helped establish the College of Pharmacy. It was named after him by Ferdinand von Mueller who published the taxon in the Australian Journal of Pharmacy.
This species is considered very rare in the wild and is listed as Priority 4 at the State level which means rare but not threatened.
EUCLID – Eucalypts of Australia Online – Eucalyptus kruseana profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/eucalyptus_kruseana.htm
Western Australian Herbarium. Florabase—the Western Australian Flora – Eucalyptus kruseana profile page https://florabase.dbca.wa.gov.au/browse/profile.php/5687
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.