Eucalyptus microcorys

Tallowwood

Family: Myrtaceae

Potentially a very tall tree, reaching 60 metres in some habitats. It has a sturdy straight trunk with continuous stringybark and forms a lignotuber, with continuous stringybark (stringy / mahogany-like) with very small brown-mica flakes on the surface (which aids identification). This species usually has a broad symmetrical form.

It grows on the NSW coastal divisions, north from about the Gosford area, to Hervey Bay in Qld and including Fraser Island.

It forms a dominant component of many vegetation types in these areas, mainly wet and dry sclerophyll forest and rainforest edges, on higher-fertility soils.

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

The adult leaves are also disjunct, broad-lanceolate to 12 cm long and about 2.5 cm wide, green and glossy and discolorous.

The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in groups (umbellasters) of 7-11 or more. Mature buds are clavate (club-shaped) to 6 mm long and 3 mm wide with a hemispherical operculum / calyptra. Flowering occurs in most months and the flowers are white to lemon-yellow.

The capsules are conspicuously conical to pyriform and aid considerably in identification. They are to 9 mm long and 6 mm wide with valves usually enclosed or to rim-level.

In the garden

This tree has been extensively planted outside its natural habitat due to its reliable broad-domed / symmetrical habit. They do very well in rows and copses. There are many trees to be found in Sydney parks and streets, especially on the edges of football / cricket fields etc. Has likely fallen out of favour in recent times due to councils now (and correctly) prioritising local native species. However, they make a very nice planting in any large landscape, park or garden. Likes a full sun position and can tolerate a variety of soils. Very hardy but can grow to be a large tree, so not suited to small gardens. It some cases, it can invade local bushland reserves, so plant with caution.

A Koala food tree. This species is one of 27 more common Eucalypt and Corymbia plants eaten by them.

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.

Propagation

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.

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).

microcorys – Greek micro (μικρό) – “small” and corys – Ancient Greek for “helmet” which relates to the Corinthian helmet, referring to the shape of the calyptra on the buds.

Not considered at risk in the wild.

“Field Guide to Eucalypts Vol 1 South Eastern Australia’ M.I.H.Brooker and D.A.Kleinig. Blooming Books.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_microcorys
https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eucalyptus~microcorys

By Dan Clarke