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. It is confined to the central and southern coast and tablelands.

It usually grows on poorly drained sandy soils and sandstone, on plateaus and ridge tops. 

It is usually a skinny tree or mallee with multiple narrow-ish stems. It can be seen growing in large patches in locations such as above very steep and large cliffs.

The bark is smooth, mottled pale grey brown and pink, often with insect scribbles.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile foliage / coppicing growth is glossy green, lanceolate, 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 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 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. 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 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.


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

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

Regenerates from lignotuber after fire and from seed bank.

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).

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

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 stricta profile page              https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/entities/eucalyptus_stricta.htm

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

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

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