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Eucalyptus approximans subsp. approximans

Barren Mountain mallee, New England mallee ash

Eucalyptus approximans Maiden, J. & Proc. Roy. Soc. New South Wales 53: 65 (1919) subsp. approximans.

T: Barren Mtn, N.S.W., 1901, H.Deane s.n.; holo: NSW.

Slender mallee to 6 m tall. Forming a lignotuber.
Bark smooth, white, grey, brown or pinkish, occasionally with ribbons of decorticated bark in the upper branches.
Juvenile growth (coppice or field seedlings to 50 cm): stem rounded or squared in cross-section, warty on lower internodes; juvenile leaves at first subsessile, opposite for 2 to 5 pairs then alternate, shortly petiolate, narrowly lanceolate to linear, 6.5-14 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, glossy, green.
Adult leaves alternate, petiole 0.2-1.5 cm long; blade linear to lanceolate to falcate, 5.5-12 cm long, 0.5-1.6 cm wide, base tapering evenly to petiole, margin entire, concolorous, glossy, green, side veins obscure or acute, reticulation absent or sparse, intramarginal vein obscure or if present well removed from margin, oil glands numerous, island.
Inflorescences axillary unbranched, peduncles 0.4-1.2 cm long; buds usually 7 (rarely 3), pedicellate, clavate, warty, scar absent, operculum rounded to flattened, stamens inflexed or irregularly flexed, anthers reniform to cordate, versatile, dorsifixed, dehiscing by confluent slits, style short or long, ovary chambers 3 or 4 each with 2 vertical ovule rows; flowers white.
Fruit pedicellate, cylindrical or cup-shaped, 0.5-0.8 cm wide, disc slightly raised, level or descending, valves 3 or 4, near rim level or enclosed.
Seed pale to mid brown, 1-2 mm long, pyramidal or obliquely pyramidal, dorsal surface smooth, hilum terminal.

Cultivated seedlings (measured at ca node 10): cotyledons reniform; stems rounded to squared in cross-section, warty (feel rough); leaves at first subsessile, opposite for 4 or 5 nodes, then alternate, shortly petiolate, linear to narrowly lanceolate, 9-14 cm long, 0.5-2.5 cm wide, tapering at base, slightly discolorous, very glossy, green.


Eucalyptus approximans (Latin approximans, approaching, perhaps alluding to its relationship with E. stricta ).

A green-leaved mallee ash of the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales. It has more prominently glandular leaves than the southern mallee ashes. Of these, it may be related to the fine-leaved E. cunninghamii of the Blue Mountains and E. paliformis from remote Wadbilliga area of the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.

There are two subspecies:

subsp. approximans
Usually has buds in 7s and cupular to cylindrical fruit and narrow leaves. It is restricted to Barren Mountain near Ebor.

subsp. codonocarpa (Greek codon, bell and carpos, fruit, refers to the fruit shape).
Has 3-budded inflorescences, campanulate fruit and broader leaves. It is known from Pheasant Mountain and Mt Norman.

Eucalyptus approximans belongs in Eucalyptus subgenus Eucalyptus section Eucalyptus series Strictae, because of a combination of characters: mallee habit with smooth bark, alternate, green juvenile leaves, adult leaves held erect and with obscure side-veins and little or no visible reticulation, single axillary inflorescences, the buds in clusters of 3 or 7 depending on the subspecies, with buds having only one operculum and reniform anthers, ovules in 2 rows, and ± pyramidal seeds. Within series Strictae, E. approximans, E. cunninghamii and E. paliformis form a small group, subseries Regulares, characterized by the leaf oil glands being round in outline.


A useful small eucalypt in horticulture.