Eucalyptus sparsifolia

Narrow-leaf Stringybark

Family: Myrtaceae

A tree growing to a height of 20 metres. It is found in Sydney, especially on the north-western parts, usually on sandstone, and spreads, north-west through the Hunter Valley and to the Pilliga Scrub. It spreads up the North Coast somewhat and spreads south to around Yerrinbool, again typically on sandy soils.

The bark is grey to reddish brown and stringy. And the canopy is typically narrow.

Juvenile foliage / coppicing growth are glossy-green, hairy, broadly lance-shaped to 50 mm long, and to 4 mm wide. Stringybarks have conspicuous glandular / warty juvenile stems, giving them a rough texture (a useful identification feature).
Adult leaves are narrow lance-shaped, often curved, the same glossy green on both sides, to 140 mm long and to 20 mm wide on a petiole to about 20 mm long.

The flowers are arranged in groups (umbellasters) of mostly between nine and eighteen. The mature buds are green to yellowish, oval to spindle-shaped, 4 to 6 mm long and about 2 mm wide. The operculum / calyptra is cone-shaped with a beaked tip, shorter than or about as long and wide as the flower cup.
The stamens are white. Flowering mainly occurs from September to December.

The capsule is a globe-shaped, slightly flattened, to 8 mm long and wide. In stringybarks, the capsules are produced in a tightly round structure.

In the garden

Not common in cultivation but can be observed on properties as remnant trees and could be incorporated into larger gardens and landscapes. Not suited to small backyards but could possibly be grown as a street tree or in a large yard. Suited to sandy soils, on ridgelines or upper slopes.

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. 

Other information

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

This species was formerly included with E. oblonga which included trees with a wide range of leaf widths. Those with broader leaves are now included in E. globoidea. It is very similar to Eucalyptus oblonga and historically, some botanists have not accepted any difference.

Regenerates readily after fire from epicormic growth and from the lignotuber.

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).

sparsifolia – is derived from Latin (“sparse-leaved”), referring to the narrow-leaves and open canopy of  the species

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 sparsifolia profile page

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


By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke