Eucryphia moorei

Pinkwood, Eastern Leatherwood, Plumwood,

Family: Cunoniaceae

A small tree to 30 metres tall (often seen much smaller), with attractive and often horizontally-spreading foliage, spreading to several metres wide. It can often have many basal suckering stems. 

It is found in NSW, south of Helensburgh, through the southern highlands (Robertson / Bundanoon / Wildes Meadow etc) and through Kangaroo Valley, then further south in disjunct patches in areas such as Morton National Park and Braidwood, then west of Moruya and Tuross Head and around Narooma; as well as west of Merimbula and then in the very far south-east corner. It extends into Victoria, growing in the Howes Range in the north-eastern part. Planted specimens have been recorded in New Zealand. 

It is typically found in warm-temperate rainforest and cool-temperate rainforest, usually on enriched soils, often as an understorey plant. 

Eucryphia spp. have compound and opposite leaves. In this species, leaves are pinnate, to 15 cm long, with usually 5 to 13 leaflets (but they are often reduced to 3 on flowering branches); leaflets oblong to 7 cm long, mostly to 1.5 cm wide with entire margins and a mucro on the tip; dark to mid green in colour on upper surfaces, and white-hairy on the lower surface.

Eucryphia spp. have 4-merous bisexual flowers, produced either solitarily or in small clusters in upper leaf axils; with 4 sepals and petals and numerous stamens. The four sepals are fused at the tips and fall off as a calyptra or cap; flowers generally white in colour.

In this species, flowers are white, about 30 mm across, produced in pairs or clusters in leaf axils; pleasantly fragrant, produced mainly in summer to autumn

The fruit of Eucryphia is a capsule. In this species, capsules are oblong or oval, to 15 mm long and hairy.

In the garden

This tree is known to be cultivated successfully and with nice results.

It is reported to make a nice street tree and is a good addition to the upper layer of any garden. It makes a great feature plant. 

It has beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers for gardens in southern areas, doing well in a cool shaded spot on enriched-fertile soils. 

It is slow growing and should not be allowed to dry out until established. Give some additional water in dry heat waves.  

Can be pruned to shape to a desired effect early on and to create a denser plant.

Plants are available commercially.


From seed, ripening March – May and also from cuttings.

Other information

Fire response is unknown. It may regenerate after fire but likely lives in habitats which do not burn often. It does have a suckering habit which it may use after fire. 

Eucryphia is a small genus 6 species, occurring in Australia and Chile. Australia has 4 species endemic (occurring in the three eastern states and Tasminia). NSW currently has 2 species. 

Eucryphia from Greek eu (εὖ) – “ and -cryphia (κρυφαιος) – meaning “secret”, “hidden”, “concealed” – referring to the flower sepals which are joined forming a cap, at the apex.

moorei named after Charles Moore (1820 – 1905), a former Director of the Royal  Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

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

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2013). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 6th edition. Reed New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia. profile page 566 for Eucryphia moorei

Mansfield. D., (1992) Australian Rainforest Plants For Your Garden. Simon and Mansfield – page 114 for Eucryphia moorei

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

Growing Illawarra Natives – Eucryphia moorei profile page https://finder.growingillawarranatives.org/plants/plant/226  

By Dan Clarke and Jeff Howes.