Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus oleosa ssp. oleosa
Red Mallee,
Acorn Mallee
Display all 6 images
Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
Least concern
Near threatened
Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
Enlarge Map
Copy Map
Copy Map
Display IBRA region text

Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 6

Prior names

Eucalyptus sp. N, questionably

Eucalyptus oleosa ssp. "Desert"

Eucalyptus oleosa ssp. repleta

Eucalyptus oleosa var. angustifolia

Eucalyptus oleosa, partly

Common names

Red Mallee

Acorn 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. Oleosa from Latin meaning full of oil; referring to the adult leaves containing plenty of essential oils.

Distribution and status

Found across the southern half of the Great Victoria Desert and the Murray region in South Australia, growing in mallee shrubland often in swales between sand dunes or low ridges, on calcareous red sands to loams soils over limestone. Also found in Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Murray, South Eastern
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-stemmed mallee to 12 m high with smooth bark, grey or brown-grey except on lower parts where it is rough and flaky to fibrous. Seedling leaves crowned, spirally-arranged, narrow. Adult leaves to 130 mm long and 19 mm wide, narrow-lanceolate to lanceolate, glossy, green. Flower axillary in groups of 7-11. Bud to 10 mm long and 4.5 mm wide, smooth, bud-cap cone-shaped to cylinder-shaped, smooth, bud-cap cone-shaped narrower or slightly wider than the base. Flowers white. Flowering between April and November. This subspecies can only be dinstinguished reliably from E. oleosa ssp. oleosa by their seedlings. Where seedlings are not available, subspecies can be identified base on their distribution. This subspecies generally occurs more inland compared to E. oleosa ssp. ampliata which occurs in more coastal regions. Fruits are round-shaped fruit to 7 mm long and 7 mm wide, disc descending, valves 3 or 4 exserted with attenuate tips. Seeds are dark brown, ovoid seed to 2 mm long and 1 mm wide, shallowly reticulated. 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 at 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, then pass it through a sieve to separate the unwanted material. The finer material will contain both seeds and frass. With finer sieves, the seeds can be separated from the frass but this is not essential for storage or propagation. Store seeds in airtight containers. 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.

Germination table: