Eucalyptus leucoxylon is a medium-sized tree which reaches 10-30 metres in height. The bark is retained on the lower trunk but the upper trunk and branches are smooth-barked and cream to grey in colour. . The adult leaves are lance-shaped to about 200 mm long. The flowers are usually seen in autumn and winter and may be white, cream, pink or red.
There are 4 recognised sub-species of E.leucoxylon:
- subsp. leucoxylon – typical form
- subsp. megalocarpa – smaller growth habit and large fruit. This is often available under the horticultural name “Rosea”
- subsp. petiolaris – bell shaped, ribbed fruits and juvenile leaves with long stalks
- subsp. pruinosa – glaucous (greyish) juvenile leaves and fruits
This is a popular tree in cultivation, particularly subsp. megalocarpa which often has red or pink flowers. It is generally regarded as a more reliable red-flowered species for humid climates than Corymbia ficifolia, the Western Australian red flowering gum. However, as it is native to a dry-summer climate, it is not reliable in tropical areas. It performs best in well-drained, moist soils but, once established is tolerant of extended dry conditions.
E.leucoxylon is regularly planted for windbreaks, shade, honey production and for ornamental purposes and it grows well in alkaline soils.
Propagation is from seed which germinates readily. The flower colour of seedlings cannot be guaranteed but red-flowered forms often produce red-flowered offspring.
Further Reading: The article “Eucalyptus leucoxylon” by D.J.Boland (Australian Plants, September 1977) describes the habitat, distribution and other features of the various sub-species.
Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Rosea’
Photo: Brian Walters