Eucalyptus scias

Large-fruited Red Mahogany, Red Mahogany

Family: Myrtaceae

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

Found in high rainfall coastal forests on soils of medium fertility in several disjunct populations, up and down the NSW Coast, extending just into the tablelands areas, from near the Queensland border, south to Batemans Bay / Narooma.

One 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.

Bark is fibrous grey or brown (stringybark) with shallow longitudinal furrows.

Juvenile/ coppicing leaves are dull green, paler on the lower surface, broadly lance-shaped, to 100 mm long and to 45 mm wide.
Adult leaves are glossy-green but paler on the lower surface, lance-shaped to broadly lance-shaped or curved, to 200 mm long and to 60 mm wide, tapering to a petiole to 27 mm long.

The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in groups (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 is a capsule, conical or bell-shaped to 10 mm long and to 18 mm wide with two ribs on the sides and the valves protruding prominently. They are comparatively large compared to many other eucalypts.

In the garden

Not an overly common tree in cultivation and little is known about cultivation potential. 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

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

Interestingly, this species was only formally described in 1990.

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

The NSW Herbarium currently recognises three subspecies:
Eucalyptus scias subsp. scias – occurring mainly in the north parts of Sydney.
Eucalyptus scias subsp. apoda – occurs on the North Coast / Northern Tablelands subdivisions.
Eucalyptus scias subsp. callimastha – occurs in wet sclerophyll forest, on the South Coast subdivisions

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