Eucalyptus lansdowneana

Crimson Mallee / Red-flowered Mallee Box

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus lansdowneana, Crimson Mallee, is a small tree that will reach a height of 6 metres with a spread of several metre. In the wild plants usually have multiple stems (mallee growth habit) but in cultivation plants usually restrict themselves to a single trunk.

Bark is persistent on the lower stems, otherwise smooth and shed in long strips.

This species is endemic to South Australia where it is relatively rare, growing in the Gawler Range, north-west of Adelaide, (northern parts of the Eyre Peninsula).

It grows on rocky hills and forms part of dry sclerophyll woodland. 

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-green then becoming glossy-green, lanceolate to 10 cm long by 4 cm wide. Adult leaves are 15 cm long by 2 centimetres wide, leathery, lanceolate and yellowish-green to grey-green.

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 / flowers are held in umbellasters of 7, with buds to about 1 cm long with short, conical to apiculate opercula. Flowers are an eye-catching dark pink to crimson-red. They make an appearance from autumn to spring. 

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 cylindrical to somewhat urn-shaped and slightly ribbed or angled, to about 12 mm long and wide.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

E. lansdowneana is a beautiful small tree that is very hardy and could be grown as a “stand alone” specimen plant or incorporated in a native shrubbery. The Crimson Mallee is small enough to be cultivated in suburban gardens.

It has very attractive red to pink to cream flowers. It reportedly grows best in full sun on alkaline soils but can be tried on acid soils. Can be pruned to create a mallee habit. Great for birds and bees. 

It is rare in the wild but widely cultivated and has been for some time. 


Propagate from seed.

Other information

This species can regenerate from the lignotuber after fire as well as any seedbank. 

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).

lansdowneana – The species name commemorates Thomas Lansdowne Browne who owned Pandura Station in South Australia and collected the type specimen.The type specimen was named in 1889.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild but is considered rare and has a small geographic distribution. 

Gardening with Angus – Eucalyptus lansdowneaea profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/eucalyptus-landsdowneana-crimson-mallee-box/

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

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

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. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.