Plants of
South Australia
Eucalyptus rugosa
Kingscote Mallee
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.


Eucalyptus from the Greek 'eu' meaning well and 'calyptos' meaning covered, alluding to the cap or lid which covers the stamens in the bud. Rugosa from the Latin 'rugosus' meaning wrinkled, referring to the buds and fruits.

Distribution and status

Endemic to South Australia and found along the coast from Fowlers Bay to the upper South-east growing on shallow, well-drained soils over limestone in mallee shrubland. Native. Uncommon in South Australia.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern, Green Adelaide
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Multi-trunked mallee to 10 m high with smooth, pink to yellow-grey to cream bark throughout. Branchlets with glands present in the pith. Juvenile leaves ovate, dull, green to slightly blue-green. Adult leaves to 120 mm long and 30 mm wide, lanceolate to broad-lanceolate, glossy green. Flowers in groups of 7-13 in leaf axils. Buds to 15 mm long and 8 mm wide, angled or ribbed, bud-cap flattened to round, shorter and narrower than the base. Flower white appearing in spring and autumn. Fruits are cup-shaped to cone-shaped fruit to 15 mm long and 10 mm wide, angled or ribbed, tapering to the stalk or lacking individual stalks; disc descending, valves 3 or 4 same level or slightly above rim. Seeds are red pyramidal seed to1.5 mm long and 1 mm wide with angled sides and 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) 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

4,100 (7.02 g)
Kangaroo Island
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.