Eucalyptus squamosa

Scaly bark

Family: Myrtaceae

A medium tree, growing to a height to 15 m and forms a lignotuber. It is generally found in sclerophyll woodland on ridgetops and plateaus, where soil accumulates in depressions on the sandstone, on and around sandstone plateaus, and often on lateritic soils.
It occurs in the Sydney region, as well as between the Putty and Broke districts and the Royal National Park. It extends south to around Nattai National Park / Picton, and is mostly confined to the Central Coast botanic subdivision.

Bark is rough, grey or reddish brown, tessellated fibrous or flaky on the trunk and branches. Often trees look malnourished or diseased with some or a lot of dieback in some cases. They are also often multi-trunked.

Juvenile foliage / coppice regrowth is dull green to greyish/blue, elliptic leaves to 100 mm long and to 60 mm wide and petiolate.
Adult leaves are arranged alternately, the same shade of green to greyish/blue on both sides, lance-shaped to curved, to 130 mm long and to 20 mm wide, tapering to a petiole to about 20 mm long.

The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in groups (umbellasters) of seven, nine or eleven which are paired in the leaf axils (a useful identification feature as it is one of only four eucalypts that have paired inflorescences in the leaf axils).

Mature buds are oval, to 11 mm long and to 5 mm wide with a conical to beaked operculum / calyptra.

Flowering occurs from October to December and the flowers are white.

The capsule is cup-shaped or hemispherical to 7 mm long and to 8 mm wide with the valves protruding strongly.

In the garden

Not overly common in cultivation and is a species found on really poor soils. However, it would lend itself to medium gardens and landscapes. It has interesting and atypical bark for a Sydney eucalypt (somewhat resembling that of Corymbia eximia) and it has leaves which are almost blue in colour.

It could likely be kept short by regular pruning or grown as a mallee. Might also be used as a street tree although it does have a spreading habit. It would be best grown in an open sunny position and can likely tolerate poor soils.

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.

Propagation

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. 

Other information

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

Grows in very fire prone environments and it readily regenerates from the lignotuber and epicormic shoots, as well as seed.

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).
squamosa from the Latin word squamosus, meaning “scaly”, referring to the bark of this species.

Not considered at risk in the wild, although it has a constrained distribution and often it is not observed in large numbers.

“Field Guide to Eucalypts Vol 1 South Eastern Australia’ M.I.H.Brooker and D.A.Kleinig. Blooming Books.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus_squamosa
https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/eucalyptus_squamosa.htm
https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eucalyptus~squamosa https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke