Eucalyptus pulverulenta

Silver-leaved Mountain Gum

Family: Myrtaceae

Eucalyptus pulverulenta is a tall shrub to small tree, growing to 10 metres tall. It can also form a mallee. 

It is a rare species in the wild, only occurring in a few locations naturally, solely in NSW, near Lithgow and Bathurst in NSW, with a few records also from near Tallong and Moss Vale in the southern highlands, then found disjunctly east of Bredbo and Cooma and then west of Bombala. 

It grows in grassy woodlands on moderately infertile soils (rocky and sandy).

It is a listed threatened species in the wild. 

Leaves, young stems and inflorescences have a powdery white bloom. 

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 silvery-grey, round (orbicular to cordate) and opposite (see image), to 5 cm long and wide. The adult leaves are rarely produced and the juvenile foliage is retained. 

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, cream flowers are carried in umbellasters of three in the upper leaf axils. The preceeding buds are glaucous, diamond-shaped to ovoid, with the calyptra/operculum beaked or conical. Flowering occurs between May and November.

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, the large fruits are cup-shaped and often retain the powdery bloom, to about 1 cm long and wide.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

Eucalyptus pulverulenta is a striking plant and could be grown as a “stand alone” specimen in the larger suburban garden or rural property.

The plant photographed is a cultivar known as “Baby Blue” growing in our garden. This is a dwarf form. Our plant, after about four years in the ground, is three metres tall and a similar width. The specimen flowered profusely three years after planting.

Eucalyptus pulverulenta responds enthusiastically to hard pruning.

Best grown in a full sun position. Can be tried on a variety of soils. 

It is advised to watch out for leaf-chewing caterpillars. 


Propagate from seed. The cultivar ‘Baby Blue’ would have to be propagated from cuttings to retain true-to-type form. 

Other information

The Silver-leaved Mountain Gum is widely grown in California as an ornamental. In Australia the species is cultivated as a cut foliage plant. 

As stated above, there is a popular cultivar called ‘Baby Blue’.

This species can likely regnerate from the lignotuber following fire. May also regenerate from seed. 

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).

pulverulenta – Latin meaning “powdered” or “dusty” – referring to the white waxy bloom often seen on the leaves, buds and fruits. 

This species is listed as being threatened with extinction in the wild at both the State and Commonwealth level with the category of Vulnerable.

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

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

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Mallee Design – Prune Me! I am Eucalyptus pulverulenta                            https://malleedesign.com.au/prune-me-i-am-eucalyptus-pulverulenta/

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