Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus microcarpa
Grey Box
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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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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4

Prior names

Eucalyptus odorata var. refracta

Eucalyptus silvestris

Eucalyptus woollsiana

Eucalyptus hemiphloia var. microcarpa


Eucalyptus from the Greek 'eu' meaning well and 'calyptos' meaning covered; alluding to the cap or lid which covers the stamens in the bud. Microcarpa from the Greek 'micros' meaning small and 'carpos' meaning fruit; referring to the relatively small fruits of the species.

Distribution and status

Found in mainly two disjunct populations in South Australia, in the southern Flinders Ranges and Tothill Range and around Bordertown, growing in grassy box woodland on loam ro clay soils. Also found in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Southern Lofty, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Tree to 25 m tall with rough over whole trunk and to base of larger branches, pale grey, box-type., smooth, whitish above. Juvenile leaves ovate to broadly lanceolate, dull, blue-green or green. Adult leaves to 150 mm long and 25 mm wide, lanceolate, dull to glossy, green. Flowers terminal and axillary in groups of 7, buds to 10 mm long and 4 mm wide, smooth or slightly angular, clavate to ovoid, bud-cap conical equal in length to the base. Flowers white appearing in summer to winter. Fruits are barrel-shaped fruit to 7 mm long and 5 mm wide, smooth or slightly angular, disc descending, valves 3 or 4 at rim level. Seeds are brown ovoid seed to 1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide, with reticulate 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 low, at 35%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
32,500 (6.52 g)
32,500 (6.52 g)
Northern Lofty
BGA9,670 (2.07 g)2019-Aug-2014JRG153
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: