Eucalyptus sieberi

Silvertop Ash, Coast Ash, Black Ash

Family: Myrtaceae

Potentially large tree growing to a height to 45 m (but does not form a lignotuber). Commonly found in forests and woodland, often in pure stands, on soils of low to medium fertility in coastal NSW. It grows south from around Morisset in NSW, along the coast and tablelands, on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria to north-eastern Tasmania. 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.

Bark is rough on the trunk and the larger branches (resembling ironbark in some case – a useful identification feature), 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.

Juvenile / coppicing growth is elliptic to lance-shaped or curved, 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, lance-shaped to curved, 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 flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in groups (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 capsules are distinctive and also help in identification. They are barrel-shaped or conical capsule 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.

In the garden

Uncommon in horticulture. Useful shade tree. And tolerates frost and light snow.
If a site has remnant trees onsite, then these can be incorporated into lawns and gardens with 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.


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.

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

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.

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

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke