Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus canescens ssp. canescens
Oak Valley Mallee,
Ooldea Range Mallee
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Prior names

Eucalyptus striaticalyx, partly

Common names

Oak Valley Mallee

Ooldea Range Mallee


Eucalyptus from the Greek 'eu' meaning well and 'calyptos' meaning covered; alluding to the cap or lid which covers the stamens in the bud. Canescens from the Latin 'canescens' meaning becoming grey; referring to the greyish leaves and waxy branchlets, buds and fruits giving the plant a greyish appearance.

Distribution and status

Found in the far western part of South Australia, restricted to the southern Great Victoria Desert, growing on sand dunes and sand plains in deep red sand. Also found in Western Australia. Native. Rare in South Australia. Rare in Western Australia.
Herbarium region: North Western
NRM region: Alinytjara Wilurara
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-stemmed mallee to 6 m tall with rough stringy-fibrous to flaky-fibrous, yellow-brown to grey bark on lower stems and smooth bark above. Juvenile leaves opposite for 1-3 pairs, ovate. Adult leaves to 115 mm long and 55 mm wide, elliptical to ovate to broad-lanceolate, proinose, dull, blue-grey. Flowers axillary, umbel with 7 flowers, held erect. Buds to 16 mm long and 12 mm wide, pruinose, bud-cap hemisperical, ribbed, equal in width or wider than the bud-base. Flowers creamy-white. This subspecies is distinguished from E. canescens ssp. beadellii by its strongly waxy adult leaves, branchlets, buds and fruits. Fruits are cupular to shortly cylindrical fruit, smooth to strongly ribbed, pruinose, to 16 mm long and 14 mm, disc level to descending, valves 4 or 5, at or just below rim level. Seeds are brown pyramidal-shaped seed to 4 mm long and 2 mm wide, with fine wrinkles. Seed embryo type is folded.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect mature fruits that are dark and hard (difficult to break with a finger nail), with the valves un-open any time of year. Leave the fruits in a breathable container in a dry room for one to two weeks. This allows the valves on the fruit to open and release the seeds. Separate the seeds by placing all the materials into a bucket and shaking it to dislodge the seeds. Pass the material through a sieve to separate the unwanted material. The finer material will contain both seeds (soft) and frass (hard) usually distinguishable from each other but can be very similar in shape and colour. With finer sieves, the seeds can be separated from the frass but this is not essential for storage or propagation. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
12,000 (27.5 g)
12,000 (27.09 g)
North Western
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.
Germination table: