Eucalyptus umbra

Broad-leaved White Mahogany

Family: Myrtaceae

Grows to 25 m tall, forming a lignotuber. It grows in the high rainfall coastal areas of New South Wales between Sydney and Grafton, northwards to south-eastern Queensland. It grows in dry sclerophyll forest or woodland, usually on poor shallow dry soils. It can be a much smaller tree on ridgetops on the coast.
Bark is persistent throughout, thin, grey to red-brown and stringy.

Juvenile foliage / coppicing regrowth have sessile leaves that are broadly egg-shaped to lance shaped, to 200 mm long and to 100 mm wide, held horizontally and arranged in opposite pairs with the bases surrounding the stem.
Adult leaves are arranged alternately, the same shade of green on both sides, lance-shaped to curved, to 180 mm long and to 45 mm wide, tapering to a petiole to 20 mm long. The overall canopy gives an appearance of very broad leaves.

The flower buds are clustered in an umbellaster or 7 to 11, which are then mostly arranged in panicles on the ends of branchlets.
Mature buds are oval, about 6 mm long and 3 to 4 mm wide with a conical to beaked operculum / calyptra.
Flowering occurs from September to February and the flowers are white.

The woody capsule is cup-shaped to hemispherical to 7 mm long and to 10 mm wide with the valves near rim level or below it.

In the garden

Not a very popular plant in cultivation. But makes a good shade tree and is often found as a smaller tree. However, it is not suited for small gardens. It does lend to medium to large landscapes, in a sunny-open position on sandy or heavier soils. Would make a nice specimen tree in an open lawn area.

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.

In a ridge-top garden situation, they may not get overly large and so may lend to landscapes in these areas.


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.

For further information refer to: http://anpsa.org.au/APOL2007/sep07-s1.html

Other information

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

Regenerates from lignotuber and epicormic growth after fire.

E. umbra is very similar to E. carnea (which used to be treated as a subspecies). E. carnea which occurs on dry sites on subcoastal hills from Newcastle to Gympie, is mainly distinguished from E. umbra on fruit features, having a narrower disc to the fruit and is more variable in placement of the disc (concealed, descending or easily visible and more or less flat, never having the broad disc and flat-topped fruit of E. umbra.

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).

umbra – Latin word meaning “shade” or “shadow” (root of “umbrella”), referring to the broad-leaved canopy produced by the tree.

This species is not considered to be at risk 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 umbra plant profile page        https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Eucalyptus~umbra

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

By Jeff Howes, edited Dan Clarke