Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus cneorifolia
Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaf Mallee
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3

Common names

Kangaroo Island Narrow-leaf 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. Cneorifolia from the genus Cneorum and the Latin 'folium' meaning a leaf; referring to the likeness of the species leaves to the unrelated plant Cneorum tricoccum.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found on the eastern half of Kangaroo Island and the lower Fleurieu Peninsula, growing on well-drained soils over laterite or limestone in dense mallee shrubland. Native. Uncommon in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-stemmed or single-stemmed trees to 10 m high with somewhat fibrous, greyish-brown to dark-grey, longitudinally fissured lower bark and smooth greyish bark above. Juvenile leaves opposite, linear-lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, glossy. Adult leaves to 100 mm long and 10 mm wide, alternate, linear-lanceolate or linear-oblong, suberect, glossy, olive-green, dull and grey-green when dried, veins indistinct. Flowers in umbels of 4-14 in the axils of the leaves. Buds to 10 mm long and 5 mm wide, usually more or less ellipsoid, bud-cap conical or hemispherical-conical, at least as long as the bud-base. Flowers white. Flowering between December and April. Fruits are hemispherical or hemispherical-globose fruit to 7 mm long and 8 mm wide, disk wide, flat or slightly raised, valves 3 or 4, needle-like, slightly exserted but soon broken off. Seeds are brown ovoid seed to 2 mm long and 1 mm wide, with a slight wrinkled surface. 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. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 95%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
7,600 (6.3 g)
Kangaroo Island
1-Sep-2004 +5°C, -18°C
BGA1,700 (1.04 g)510-Mar-2010TST924
Southern Lofty
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: