Eucalyptus stricta

Blue Mountains Mallee Ash

Family: Myrtaceae

A small tree or mallee endemic to New South Wales, growing to 7 m tall, forming a lignotuber. It has a scattered distribution from the Central Tablelands around Newnes Plateau, south to Dr George Mountain north-east of Bega, usually on poorly drained sandy soils on plateaus and ridge tops. It is confined to the central and southern coast and tablelands.

It is usually a tall skinny tree or mallee.

The bark is smooth, mottled pale grey brown and pink, often with insect scribbles.
Juvenile foliage / coppicing growth is glossy green, lanceolate leaves to 140 mm long and to 35 mm wide.

Adult leaves are the same shade of glossy green on both sides, linear to lanceolate, to 170 mm long and to about 15 mm wide, the base tapering to a petiole to about 20 mm long.

The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in groups (umbellasters) of seven, the individual buds on pedicels 2 to 7 mm long. Mature buds are oval to pear-shaped (pyriform), to 9 mm long and to 5 mm wide with a conical to rounded operculum (a cap like structure).

Flowering has been observed in most months and the flowers are white.

The capsule is woody, urn-shaped to barrel-shaped, to 10 mm long and to 11 mm wide with the valves near rim level or below it.
Seeds are brown, 1.5 to 2 mm long,

In the garden

Not a common garden plant but seed available on-line and plants are for sale even in the UK.

It grows on shallow soils and sandstone cliffs – this may mean that it may not grow well in a general enriched garden environment. But it is worth a try. It could be grown in a patch of numerous plants in a sunny open area. It does lend itself to small gardens as it is narrow and not overly tall. It could also be cut back periodically to encourage a mallee habitat. It would make a nice mallee feature as a focal point in a garden.

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.

Related to E. burgessiana differing by the narrower leaves to 11 x 1.6 cm.

Regenerates from lignotuber after fire and from seed bank.

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).
stricta – from the Latin strictus meaning “drawn together”, “upright” or “straight”, possibly referring to the many stems of this mallee.

Not considered at risk in the wild.

“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_stricta
https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/eucalyptus_stricta.htm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke