Eucalyptus magnificata

Northern Blue Box

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus magnificata is known as the Northern Blue Box and is a tree that will reach a height of 15 metres.

It has a very small natural distribution and is found in three small populations on the northern tablelands of NSW, in a very narrow north-to south zone; from south-east of Uralla and Armidale, up through the area east of Guyra and Glen Innes, through Tenterfield to south of Warwick in Queensland. 

It is a listed threatened species in the wild. 

It grows in grassy dry sclerophyll woodland on shallow soils.

The bark is pale grey, fibrous and flaky. 

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, the juvenile leaves are orbicular to ovate, to 8 cm long and 7 cm wide. The adult leaves are oval, to 10 cm long by up to 6 cm wide. They are bluish-green in colour. 

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, the buds are club-shaped and usually appear in groups of seven. Flowers are white to cream, 1.5 centimetres across and are both conspicuous and profuse during the flowering period in November and December. 

 Eucalyptus magnificata is listed as threatened with extinction, categorised as endangered, 

In the garden

The Blue Box could be grown as a specimen tree in larger suburban gardens or as a component of shelterbelts and windbreaks on rural properties. It grows to 15 metres tall but could be pruned into a mallee habit. It has very attractive foliage and can flower well. Would add to attracting in fauna and invetebrates into any garden. The foliage of Blue Box is an attractive feature.

It is a threatened species and so may be hard to source. Check with local native nurseries. It grows on sandy to loam soils in the wild. Can likely tolerate frost and dry conditions once established. 


Propagate from seed.

Other information

The leaves are used for dyeing wool and yield a red colour.

Eucalyptus magnificata was split from E. baueriana in the early 1990’s. The latter species is found in coastal southern New South Wales (it can be found in western Sydney) and Northern Victoria.

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

magnificata – Latin meaning “magnified” referring to the leaves being generally larger than other closely related species. 

This species is listed as being threatened with extinction in the wild at the State level with the category of endangered. 

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

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

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Threatened Species Profile – Eucalyptus magnificata https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10299


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