A couple of my favourite South Australian trees

South Australia is blessed with some beautiful Eucalypts. One of my favourites is Eucalyptus leptophylla commonly known as the narrow-leaved red mallee.

The red mallee's natural occurrence is widespread across much of the state throughout the drier regions and it will grow quite happily on natural rainfall as low as 200mm per annum. It favours well drained soils, growing well on sandy and even limestone soils. It is common over much of Eyre and Yorke peninsulas, also throughout the Murray mallee and occurs on Kangaroo Island.  

It is mostly a small multi trunked tree attaining a height of between 3-6 metres with a similar spread. The leaves are narrow and a shiny green colour but the most appealing feature is the bright red Eucalypt fruits or buds which occur in spring and summer opening to cream flowers. It puts on quite a show.  

The red mallee is a small tree that deserves to be more widely planted as a small ornamental tree but is also is very useful for a small screening or windbreak plant. It can be utilised for erosion control on sandy soils. It is a versatile tree and is a fine good looking mallee that I highly recommend.

Eucalyptus incrassata is another special mallee again for low rainfall areas and is commonly known as the ridge-fruited mallee. It is a spreading tree often umbrella shaped with multi stems.The bark peels off in ribbons and the leaves are large and glossy green in colour. The flowers are cream and can occur throughout the year but are most prominent in winter. It inhabits sandy well drained soils that are often infertile.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting Monarto Conservation Park would have encountered some magnificent specimens of Eucalyptus incrassata growing on non-wetting sands. I would suggest some of these trees are ancient and they astound me with the amount of debris, peeled of bark and mulch that has mounded at their base.

It is rewarding to sit in peace and watch the abundant bird and insect life that flock to these specimens when they are flowering. It is a very useful tree for erosion control, screening purposes or planted as a windbreak. It is a tree that will tolerate coastal exposure so it is very versatile.

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