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Useful Temperate Plants

Eucalyptus obliqua

L'Hér.

Myrtaceae


Eucalyptus obliqua is generally recorded as native to the temperate and subtropical regions of southeastern and eastern Australia, being found as far south as Tasmania, as far west as southwestern South Australia and as far north as southeastern Queensland. There is, however, also a report of the plant growing in Timor, Indonesia, some 3,500 kilometres from its nearest other report. It is listed by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as being native to Timor (https://wcsp.science.kew.org/namedetail.do?name_id=73453) a treatment we are accepting here.

+ Synonyms

Eucalyptus decaisneana Blume

Eucalyptus fabrorum Schltdl.

Eucalyptus falcifolia Miq.

Eucalyptus heterophylla Miq.

Eucalyptus nervosa F.Muell. ex Miq.

Eucalyptus obliqua Decne.

Eucalyptus pallens A.Cunn. ex DC.

Eucalyptus procera Dehnh.

Common Name: Messmate

Eucalyptus obliqua
Tree grown in native habitat
Photograph by: Greig, D.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Eucalyptus obliqua Eucalyptus obliqua Eucalyptus obliqua Eucalyptus obliqua Eucalyptus obliqua Eucalyptus obliqua

General Information

Eucalyptus obliqua is an evergreen tree; it can grow up to 70 metres tall, exceptionally to 90 metres. The long, straight bole can be up to 210cm in diameter, exceptionally to 300cm[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
1658
Title
Eucalypts for Planting
Publication
FAO Forestry Series No.11
Author
Jacobs M.R.
Website
http://www.fao.org
Publisher
FAO; Rome
Year
1981
ISBN
92-5-100570-2
Description
An excellent publication, rather dated now but with a wealth of information about the Eucalypts. It can be downloaded from the Internet as a PDF file.
].
Commonly harvested from the wild, this is one of the most important hardwood species in Australia and it also supplies a range of other materials. It has been planted for timber in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and South Africa[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1212
Title
New Trees
Publication
 
Author
Grimshaw J.; Bayton R.; Wilks H.
Publisher
Kew Publishing; London
Year
2009
ISBN
1842461737
Description
Provides comprehensive botanical descriptions and horticultural commentary on over 800 tree species that have been introduced to cultivation in recent decades.

Range

Southeast Asia - Indonesia (Lesser Sunda Islands) to Australia - Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania

Habitat

Closed forests and wet sclerophyll forests in mountains in areas with winter frosts, often forming pure stands; at elevations up to 1,300 metres[
167
Title
A Field Guide to Australian Trees.
Publication
 
Author
Holliday. I. and Hill. R.
Publisher
Frederick Muller Ltd.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-85179-627-3
Description
A well illustrated and very readable book, but it does not contain much information for the plant project.
,
1658
Title
Eucalypts for Planting
Publication
FAO Forestry Series No.11
Author
Jacobs M.R.
Website
http://www.fao.org
Publisher
FAO; Rome
Year
1981
ISBN
92-5-100570-2
Description
An excellent publication, rather dated now but with a wealth of information about the Eucalypts. It can be downloaded from the Internet as a PDF file.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height60.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

Eucalyptus obliqua is native to the temperate and subtropical climate of southeastern and eastern Australia, where it is found at elevations up to 1,300 metres. It is also found on the tropical island of Timor, Indonesia. Rainfall in Australia can occur all year round, with a mean annual rainfall within the range 700 - 1,250mm and a dry season of up to 4 months. The mean maximum temperature of the hottest month is 27 - 32°c; mean minimum temperature of the coldest month is 2 - 5°c, and there are generally around 10 - 100 frosts a year[
1658
Title
Eucalypts for Planting
Publication
FAO Forestry Series No.11
Author
Jacobs M.R.
Website
http://www.fao.org
Publisher
FAO; Rome
Year
1981
ISBN
92-5-100570-2
Description
An excellent publication, rather dated now but with a wealth of information about the Eucalypts. It can be downloaded from the Internet as a PDF file.
]. The plant is said to be able to tolerate short periods with temperatures down to about -10°c when it is fully dormant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Prefers a sunny position in a moderately fertile well-drained moisture retentive circum-neutral soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Tolerates poor and dry soils, especially those low in mineral elements[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Established plants are drought tolerant[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant develops a lignotuber - this is a woody tuber that starts to develop near the base of seedlings and can become massive in the mature plants of some species. It possesses embedded vegetative buds, allowing the plant to regenerate following crown destruction, for example by fire[
1660
Title
EUCLID - Eucalypts of Australia
Publication
 
Author
Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research, Canber
Website
http://keyserver.lucidcentral.org:8080/euclid/data/02050e02-0108-490e-8900-0e0601070d00/media/Html/index.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website dedicated to the genus Eucalyptus (sensu latu), with descriptions and nomencultural information on all the species.
].
Eucalyptus species have not adopted a deciduous habit and continue to grow until it is too cold for them to do so. This makes them more susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. If temperature fluctuations are more gradual, as in a woodland for example, the plants have the opportunity to stop growing and become dormant, thus making them more cold resistant. A deep mulch around the roots to prevent the soil from freezing also helps the trees to survive cold conditions[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Many members of this genus are remarkably adaptable however, and there can be a dramatic increase in the hardiness of subsequent generations from the seed of survivors growing in temperate zones[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Whilst most Eucalyptus species, grown in small numbers outside their native range, can be an attractive and useful addition to the landscape, certain species (including this one) are more problematic. When grown in monocultures, especially outside their native range, they can become an environmental disaster. They are voracious, especially in their use of water; they are allelopathic, inhibiting the growth of the native flora; they reduce habitats for native fauna; and encourage the worst possible attitudes to land use and conservation[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants are shallow-rooting and, especially in windy areas, should be planted out into their permanent positions when small to ensure that they do not suffer from wind-rock[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
]. They strongly resent root disturbance and should be container grown before planting out into their permanent position[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Kino resin, obtained from the trunk, is very astringent. Diluted, it can be taken internally as an effective treatment for dysentery, working because it is not absorbed at all from the stomach and only very slowly from the intestine, and is thus able to directly treat the lower part of the intestine. It can be used as a gargle and mouthwash to treat relaxed throat, loose teeth[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
1096
Title
Native Tastes of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tasteaustralia.biz/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website with detailed information on around 50 species of native Australian food plants, including recipes.
].
Applied externally as a wash, it is an effective styptic and can used to treat cuts and skin problems[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The flowers are rich in nectar and are a good bee crop[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Other Uses

Leaves of this species, from Cambewarra, New South Wales, yielded 41.13% of extract, and 17.2% of tannic acid[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The bark contains from 2.5 - 4.19% of kinotannin[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Like other stringybarks, this yields a kino gum of a ruby colour, perfectly transparent and bright-looking, and quite soluble in water[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. The gum contains tannins and is astringent[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Soluble in water, they can be used medicinally; in tanning; as well as for preserving and dyeing natural fibres. When boiled in an iron pot they produce a thick, dark liquid that can be used as an ink[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The resin oozes naturally from wounds in the trunk and can be tapped by making incisions in the bark. At first it is a thick liquid, but soon hardens upon exposure to the air and sun, typically drying to an amber-like material that consists of dark red angular fragments, rarely larger than a pea. Freshly exuded kino is more effective than kino that has been on the tree for a long while, since the soluble portion can be more or less washed out and the action of the sun can alter their chemical composition[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

A reddish-yellow essential oil with a mild odour and a bitter taste is obtained from the plant (part not specified)[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
An essential oil is obtained from the leaves. Total quantity of the oil, and its composition, can vary widely from plant to plant, but we have reports that the fresh leaves contain around 0.7 - 3.8% (2.2 - 5.4% dry weight) essential oil. The main components include phellandrene, 1,8-cineole, cymene, aldehydes and piperitone[
1659
Title
Eucalyptus Leaf Oils: Use, Chemistry, Distillation and Marketing
Publication
Phytochemistry June 1992
Author
Southwell I.A.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1016/0031-9422(92)80403-2
Publisher
 
Year
1992
ISBN
 
Description
An extensive list of Eucalyptus species and their essential oil content.
].


Leaves of this species, from Cambewarra, New South Wales, yielded 41.13% of extract, and 17.2% of tannic acid[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The bark from the stems of old trees is used for thatching buildings, and for door mats[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. An excellent rope can also be made from the fibre in the bark[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The light brown, straw coloured wood resembles English Oak (Quercus spp.). It is straight grained, hard, strong and durable[
719
Title
A Manual of the Timbers of the World
Publication
 
Author
Howard A.L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
MacMillan and Co.; London.
Year
1934
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent and comprehensive book on timbers. Rather dated, but still a main source of information for many of the less known woods. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. Near the base the wood assumes a beautiful wavy figure, which is admirably adapted for furniture, and very ornamental[
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is easily worked; takes a good surface from the tool; splits upon nailing and so pre-boring is advised. It is difficult to season, and shrinks unevenly. It is used for construction, interior trim, joinery, furniture, boxes, poles, piles, posts, railway sleepers, veneer, plywood and woodwool[
167
Title
A Field Guide to Australian Trees.
Publication
 
Author
Holliday. I. and Hill. R.
Publisher
Frederick Muller Ltd.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-85179-627-3
Description
A well illustrated and very readable book, but it does not contain much information for the plant project.
,
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
719
Title
A Manual of the Timbers of the World
Publication
 
Author
Howard A.L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
MacMillan and Co.; London.
Year
1934
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent and comprehensive book on timbers. Rather dated, but still a main source of information for many of the less known woods. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow late winter/early spring in a sunny position in a greenhouse[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
,
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. Species that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold stratification at 2°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as the second set of seed leaves has developed, if left longer than this they might not move well. Plant out into their permanent positions in early summer and give them some protection from the cold in their first winter. The seed can also be sown in early summer, the young trees being planted in their final positions in late spring of the following year. The seed has a long viability[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2019-09-18. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Eucalyptus+obliqua>

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