Eucalyptus obliqua

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Credits

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Eucalyptus obliqua' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/eucalyptus/eucalyptus-obliqua/). Accessed 2021-09-23.

Common Names

  • Messmate
  • Messmate Stringybark

Glossary

strobilus
Cone. Used here to indicate male pollen-producing structure in conifers which may or may not be cone-shaped.
calcifuge
(of a plant) Avoiding soil containing lime (i.e. usually growing on acidic soil).

References

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Credits

Article from New Trees, Ross Bayton & John Grimshaw

Recommended citation
'Eucalyptus obliqua' from the website Trees and Shrubs Online (treesandshrubsonline.org/articles/eucalyptus/eucalyptus-obliqua/). Accessed 2021-09-23.

Tree to 45–90 m, 1.2 m dbh. Bark grey to reddish brown, fibrous and furrowed throughout; shedding in ribbons. Branchlets red to maroon. Juvenile leaves ovate, short-acuminate and shiny. Adult leaves thick, dark glossy green, 10–15 × 1.5–3.3 cm, broadly lanceolate, falcate, lateral veins indistinct, margins entire, apex acute or obtuse; petiole channelled, 0.7–1.7 cm long. Inflorescences solitary and axillary; umbellasters with 11 flowers or more. Flower buds club-shaped; hypanthium 0.2–0.3 cm wide; stamens white or cream. Capsule ovoid, subglobular or barrel-shaped, 0.5–0.9 cm diameter; valves three to four, flush or included. Boland et al. 1984, Chippendale 1988. Distribution AUSTRALIA: New South Wales (east), Queensland (extreme southeast), South Australia (southeast), Tasmania, Victoria. Habitat Tall, open forest on hills and mountains between 0 and 1200 m asl. USDA Hardiness Zone 8–9. Conservation status Not evaluated. Cross-reference K48.

Eucalyptus obliqua is one of the largest gums, and while not one of the hardiest, is capable of becoming a big tree quite quickly in maritime Europe. In Oxfordshire young trees have grown 10–12 m since 2002 (S. Verge, pers. comm. 2007), and there are several specimens of over 20 m in Devon gardens, the tallest recorded being two of 23 m at Thorn House, Wembury in 2004 (TROBI). The new growth is spectacular, flushing red before turning green, and when mature the prolifically shedding soft bark has a sort of scruffy charm. It is not, however, totally undemanding in its requirements. It is rather tender when young, and the Gum Group (2007) recommend wrapping it in its first winter. Once established it can tolerate temperatures down as low as –10 ºC. It is also very calcifuge and flourishes best at pH 4–6, preferably where moisture is abundant year-round as it is intolerant of drought conditions.