Eucalyptus viminalis

Manna Gum, Ribbon Gum

Family: Myrtaceae

A gum-eucalypt potentially reaching 40+ metres, though usually much shorter.

It is widespread and abundant, in grassy woodland or forest on fertile loamy soils in higher rainfall areas, from South Australia around the east coast to Queensland.

It is found on the slopes, tablelands and coastal areas of NSW. In Sydney, it may be found on the outskirts in the western suburbs on alluvial and clay soils. It is a common tree in the Southern Highlands and western rural creeklines.

The trunk has brown fibrous bark at the base and smooth white limbs up above. Trees typically shed long ribbons of bark which get caught in the forks.

Eucalyptus spp. have simple and usually alternate adult leaves with juvenile leaves starting off opposite to alternate (disjunct). In this species, juvenile leaves are opposite, strongly narrow-lanceolate and dull green, about 9 cm long and 2 cm wide. The shape is a useful identification feature. Adult leaves are lanceolate to 20 cm long and 2.5 cm wide, green and glossy.

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 buds are carried in clusters of three (which aids identification enromously), to about 9 mm long and 6 mm wide. The creamy-white flowers are about 2 cm across.

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, they are rounded to about 9 mm diameter.

In the garden

A hardy, large shade tree suitable for parks or very large gardens. It can look untidy. Needs moist fertile soil to perform best, though is relatively hardy once established.

It is commonly seen on creeklines in rural areas.

No reported pests or problems.


Propagation is from seed which germinates readily but cannot be guaranteed to come true to type.

Other information

Manna refers to the sweet crumbly white gum (a sugary material) exuded from the bark which can be eaten raw and is available in summer. It is a very pleasant, sweet taste and eaten by Indigenous peoples.

It regenerates from seed, epicormic shoots and lignotuber after fire.

This eucalyptus is the primary diet of koalas and will attract a large range of animals, with a sweet honey, and a good sugar content within its leaves.

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.

viminalis – is a Latin for “vimen” a word meaning “bearing shoots or ribbons (osiers/pliant twigs) for wicker work”

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

Australian National Herbarium – Eucalyptus viminalis profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/apu/plants/eucavimi.html

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Eucalyptus viminalis profile page

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

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.