Eucalyptus rossii

Inland Scribbly Gum or White Gum

Family: Myrtaceae

A tree, growing to a height of around 15 to 20 m and forms a lignotuber. It has a scattered distribution over the New South Wales tablelands, western slopes from Tenterfield in the north to Bombala in the south. It is generally found west of the Blue Mountains, growing in sandy and stony well-drained soils, typically on slopes and ridges.

Has a solitary straight trunk and a dense crown. Bark sheds in patches throughout the year and usually has insect scribbles.

Juvenile / coppicing regrowth have lance-shaped or curved leaves to 140 mm long and to 40 mm wide.

Adult leaves are arranged alternately, the same shade of green-blue on both sides, lance-shaped, to 150 mm long and to 25 mm wide, tapering to a petiole to 20 mm long. This species has narrower leaves than some other scribbly gums.

The flower buds are mostly arranged in leaf axils in clusters of between five and fifteen, the individual buds on pedicels to 6 mm long. Mature buds are oval to club-shaped, to 5 mm long and to 3 mm wide with a rounded operculum / calyptra. Flowering occurs between September and February and the flowers are white.

The capsule is cup-shaped, hemispherical to spherical, to 6 mm long and to 6 mm wide with the valves near rim level. The top of the capsule is red-brown when ripe.

In the garden

Eucalyptus rossii is a very hardy and durable tree that is widely cultivated, particularly in the ACT. It would make a good feature tree on a larger block, providing good shade. It has an attractive white to grey smooth trunk. Give some room to grow as it can grow to 20 m tall. Likes a free draining soil and will tolerate a rocky soil. May grow better with some enrichment. Very suited to an open landscaped garden at the top of a hill or upper slope in full sun.

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.


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. For further information refer to:

Other information

Eucalyptus is one of three similar genera that are commonly referred to as “eucalypts”, the others being Corymbia and Angophora.
Refer to these two links for more clarification

Regenerates easily after fire from lignotuber, epicormic growth as well as seed bank.

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).
rossii – honours the science teacher William John Clunies Ross (1850 – 1914), a fellow of the Geological Society of London in 1882, and who migrated to Australia and wrote many scientific articles on the Geology of Bathurst and other areas. Ross provided specimens for Baker and Smith who described the species.

There have historically been 5 scribbly gum taxa recognised in NSW. Recent studies have lumped these taxa into 3 entities as follows:
Eucalyptus haemastoma
– Eucalyptus racemosa subsp. racemosa
– Eucalyptus racemosa subsp. rossii
However, this revision was not accepted at a Commonwealth level.
Genetic research still continues as the taxa are known to intergrade with likely hybridisation.

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.

By Jeff Howes