Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus oxymitra
Sharp-capped 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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Botanical art

Kath Alcock painting: 1.


Eucalyptus from the Greek 'eu' meaning well and 'calyptos' meaning covered; alluding to the cap or lid which covers the stamens in the bud. Oxymitra from the Greek 'oxys' meaning sharp and 'mitra' meaning head-dress; reffering to the sharply pointed bud caps.

Distribution and status

Found in the far north-west part of South Australia, growing on red sands on plains and lower parts of dunes, rocky rises and hill slopes in open mallee shrubland. Also found in Western Australia and Northern territory. Native. Uncommon in South Australia. Uncommon in the other states.
Herbarium region: North Western
NRM region: Alinytjara Wilurara
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-stemmed mallee to 6 m high with smooth, pinkish-grey to cream bark throughout sometime with ribbony, rough base. Juvenile leaves ovate, waxy, dull, green to grey-green. Adult leaves to 125 mm long and 40 mm wide, lanceolate to ovate, thickish, dull, blue-green to blue-grey. Flowers in groups of 7 in the axils of the leaves. Buds to 18 mm long and 12 mm wide, waxy, round-shaped to cone-shaped, bud-cap round-shaped with a long point, longer than the base. Flowers cream yellow appearing sporadically after rain. Fruits are round fruit to 13 mm long and 20 mm wide, waxy when immature, disc ascending, valves 4 or 5, exserted above the rim. Seeds are pale brown irregular pyramid-shaped seed to 3 mm long and 2 mm wide. 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 80%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
6,900 (10.4 g)
6,900 (10.4 g)
North Western
1-Sep-200465%+5°C, -18°C
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: