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Tree to 55 m, 1.2–1.5 m dbh. Bark white or blue-grey, smooth, but rough, greyish brown and flaky at the base and up the trunk to 4 m. Branchlets green. Juvenile leaves ovate to broad-lanceolate, glossy green, petiolate. Adult leaves glossy dark green, 9–25 × 2–3 cm, broad-lanceolate, lateral veins obscure, margins entire, apex falcate; petiole flattened or channelled, 1.5–2.5 cm long. Inflorescences axillary and solitary; umbellasters with 7–11 flowers. Flower buds fusiform or ovoid; hypanthium hemispherical, cylindrical or campanulate, 0.3–0.4 cm wide; stamens white or cream. Capsule cylindrical, campanulate or subpyriform, 0.4–0.7 cm diameter; valves three to four, exserted. Chippendale 1988, Hill 2004. Distribution AUSTRALIA: New South Wales, Queensland. Habitat Wet forest, often on slopes; primarily coastal. USDA Hardiness Zone (9–)10. Conservation status Not evaluated.
The Sydney Blue Gum offers only a slight chance of success in most of our area, being reliably killed by frost at around –5 ºC, so that it is suitable only for the very mildest locations. It does, however, grow very fast, putting on 10–12 m in four years in Oregon (S. Hogan, pers. comm. 2007), and while doing so is attractive, the new growth appearing red before turning a good glaucous blue. As the name suggests, Eucalyptus saligna has a distinctly willow-like appearance when young, but mature specimens are beautifully straight, and important for timber.