Eucalyptus scias

Large-fruited Red Mahogany, Red Mahogany

Family: Myrtaceae

A tree growing to 20 m tall, forming a lignotuber and usually with noticeably wide leaves. It sometimes grows as a mallee.

It is naturally found in high rainfall dry to wet sclerophyll forests, on the NSW coast and tablelands fringes, on soils of low to medium fertility. It occurs as far south as the Batemans Bay / Narooma area in NSW, occurring in several disjunct populations northwards; extending just into the tablelands areas, to as far north as Tabulum and Jennings near the Queensland border.

The NSW Herbarium currently recognises three subspecies:

  • Subspecies apoda, grows on soils derived from granite on the ranges east of Tenterfield.
  • Subspecies scias is mainly found in near-coastal areas between Cessnock and Narooma, mainly on enriched sandy loams to loams.
  • Subspecies callismatha is found between Wollongong and Narooma.

The bark is fibrous grey or brown (stringybark/mahogany) with shallow longitudinal furrows.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile/ coppicing leaves are dull green, paler on the lower surface, broadly lanceolate, to 100 mm long and to 45 mm wide.
Adult leaves are glossy-green but paler on the lower surface, lanceolate to broadly lanceolate to falcate, to 200 mm long and to 60 mm wide, tapering to a petiole to 27 mm long.

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 flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in umbellasters of three or seven, the individual buds sessile or on pedicels up to 8 mm long. Mature buds are oval to spindle-shaped or diamond-shaped, to 19 mm long and to 13 mm wide with a conical to beaked operculum / calyptra.
Flowering has been recorded from January to February and the flowers are white.

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 fruit is conical or bell-shaped to 10 mm long and to 18 mm wide with two ribs on the sides and the valves protruding prominently (a typical mahogany feature). They are comparatively large compared to many other eucalypts which is a useful identification feature.

In the garden

This is not an overly common tree in cultivation and little is known about cultivation potential. It may make a nice eucalypt specimen due to its broad canopy and ability to be grown as a mallee.
The capsules are very attractive and are comparatively large which lends to attraction. Grow in a sandy to loam soil for best results.

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.


Eucalypts 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: http://anpsa.org.au/APOL2007/sep07-s1.htm

Other information

Interestingly, this species was only formally described in 1990.

Regenerates from lignotuber and epicormic growth after fire. Also regenerates from seedbank.

Eucalyptus is one of three similar genera that are commonly referred to as “eucalypts”, the others being Corymbia and Angophora. 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).

scias – from the ancient Greek skia (σκιά) meaning “a shade”, referring to the broad-leaved canopy of this species (also – in Greek – referring to “a shade” as in “a ghost”).

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

Field Guide to EucalyptsVol 1 South Eastern Australia M.I.H.Brooker and D.A.Kleinig. Blooming Books.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Eucalyptus scias profile page

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

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.