Eucalyptus prava

Orange Gum

Family: Myrtaceae

A tree to 15 m tall, with a trunk that is often rather twisted.

It occurs on the northern tablelands of NSW, from mostly as far south as Tamworth, extending just into Queensland south of Warwick. There is an outlying population further south near Murrurundi. 

It is often found on skeletal soils – mainly sand and granite in dry sclerophyll woodland.

The bark is smooth and comes in a range of colours: patchy grey, grey-brown, orange and red-brown. In spring the bark is shed in large plates or flakes. This is when the orange colour is most vivid (hence the common name). As the year progresses this colour fades.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, ovate to orbicular, to about 10 cm long and 7 cm wide, dull blue-green. Adult leaves are falcalte-lanceolate, to 16 cm long and 4 cm wide, dull grey-green to bluish-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, large white flowers are produced in umbellasters of 5-7, in late spring and summer; the preceeding buds are ovoid to cylindrical, to 1.5 cm long with long horned to conical opercula.

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, they are hemispherical, about 1 cm wide by 1 cm long, with strongly exserted valves.

In the garden

This species is grown in cultivation but not often. However, it does grow well. Hardy once established. 

It has an attractive trunk with orange hues at times and rembles other species of red gum. It is usually found on sandy or granite-based soils in the wild. 

A range of insects are attracted to the nectar-rich blooms. Centre stage, in the photo, is a pair of Spotted Flower Chafer Beetles that are feeding on the nectar and endeavouring to increase the Spotted Flower Chafer population.

Best planted in full sun with good drainage. May be useful in cold ridge-top gardens and landscapes at high elevation.


Propagate from seed.

Other information

This species can regenerate after fire from the lignotuber. May also regenerate from the seed bank.

Orange Gum was previously included with E. bancroftii, a coastal species, but was given species status in 1990.

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).

prava – Latin – pravus – meaning “crooked” or “perverse” – referring to the crooked habit of the species.

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

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

National Trust – Statement of Significance – Eucalyptus prava  https://trusttrees.org.au/tree/VIC/South_Yarra/321_Walsh_Street

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

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