Eucalyptus stellulata

Black Sallee / Black Sally

Family: Myrtaceae

A medium tree, growing to a height of 15 m – forming a lignotuber.

It is confined naturally to the tablelands of NSW, growing as far north as near Tenterfield (and possibly with records near Warwick in Queensland. From here, it extends southwards along the Great Dividing Range to the eastern highlands of Victoria, extending west to a line between Wangaratta and Traralgon.

It is a common plant in grassy eucalyptus woodland, often near swamps and by streams, growing on relatively good soil-fertility (e.g., alluvium)

Bark is rough, shortly fibrous and greyish on the lower trunk with smooth olive-green bark that is somewhat oily above.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile leaves / coppicing regrowth is sessile, elliptical and arranged in opposite pairs, to 100 mm long and to 50 mm wide. Adult leaves are arranged alternately, the same glossy green on both sides, lance-shaped to elliptical, to 110 mm long and to 35 mm wide, tapering to a petiole to 15 mm long. The leaf veins are almost parallel and very conspicuous.

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 a star-like umbellaster of between 9 and 15 with the individual buds sessile. Mature buds are spindle-shaped to 6 mm long and about 2 mm wide with a pointed, conical operculum / calyptra. Flowering occurs between February and May and the flowers are white. The umbellasters are clustered up and down the stems

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 capsule is cup-shaped or shortened-spherical, to 5 mm long and wide with the valves near rim level. Seeds are brown or reddish brown, 1.5 to 2 mm long.

In the garden

This species is not commonly grown in cultivation, but it is available from several nurseries and is sold overseas as well.

It is found in cold-climate areas on good quality soils near creeks and so it would lend itself to those sorts of environments. However, it could be trialled in other areas. It is not an overly large tree and so could be trialled in an open landscape or garden. May also make a nice street tree. May need good water to thrive and likely an enriched soil like alluvium, clay or basalt.

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

The Australian Oxford Dictionary gives the origin of “sally” and “sallee” as British dialect variants of “sallow”, meaning “a willow tree, especially one of a low-growing or shrubby kind”.

This species regenerates after fire through the lignotuber and epicormic shoots. It can also regenerate from the seedbank. 

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

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).

stellulata – is derived Latin meaning “little star” and refers to the appearance of the clustered flower buds (umbellasters).

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.

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

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

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