Eucalyptus sieberi

Silvertop Ash, Coast Ash, Black Ash

Family: Myrtaceae

A potentially large tree growing to a height to 45 m. It does not form a lignotuber.

It grows south from around Morisset in NSW, along the coast and tablelands, on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range, through eastern and central Victoria, to as far west as around Ballarat. It also grows in north-eastern Tasmania, as far south as around Bicheno.

Commonly found in forests and woodland, often in pure stands, on soils of low to medium fertility. It forms a dominant part of some vegetation communities, usually where soil is sandy, but trees can be found, sometimes quite large, on transitional and clay-enriched soils. Usually found on higher ground especially ridgetop vegetation.

Bark is rough on the trunk and the larger branches (resembling ironbark in some case – a useful identification feature when taken with bare branches above), smooth, white to yellow bark above. The rough bark is thin and flaky on younger trees, but becomes thick and dark grey to black and furrowed with age.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile / coppicing growth is elliptic to lanceolate or falcate, bluish-green to glaucous leaves, to 170 mm long and to 75 mm wide.
Adult leaves are the same shade of glossy green on both sides, lanceolate to falcate, to about 200 mm long and to 40 mm wide on a petiole to 20 mm long. The leaves strongly reflect the sunlight (glisten), hence its common name and a useful feature for identification.

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 between seven and fifteen. Mature buds are oval to club-shaped, to 5 mm long to 4 mm wide with a rounded or flattened operculum / calyptra. Flowering occurs from September to January 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 capsules are distinctive and also help in identification. They are barrel-shaped or conical, to 11 mm long and to 9 mm wide with the valves near rim level. The top of the capsule can have a thick red disc and walls when ripe. They usually litter the ground heavily or frequently underneath continuous stands.

In the garden

Uncommon in horticulture. A useful shade tree and it tolerates frost and light snow.

If a site has remnant trees, then these can be incorporated into lawns and gardens to a very nice effect. Can grow to over 20 m tall so not suited to small gardens. Useful in a large landscape or open garden, especially on a ridgetop or hill.

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.html

Other information

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

The timber is used in general construction. This species is one of the major species being converted to wood chips at Eden for export for writing-paper production.

This species responds readily after fire – producing epicomic shoots. It can also renerate 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).

sieberi – Latin, named after the botanist Franz Wilhelm Sieber (1789-1844), who was a botanist and collector who travelled to Europe, the Middle East, Southern Africa and Australia.

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

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

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

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

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