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Eucalyptus robusta - Sm.

Common Name Swamp Mahogany, Eucalyptus Gum
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 8-12
Known Hazards Citronellal, an essential oil found in most Eucalyptus species is reported to be mutagenic when used in isolation[ 269]. In large doses, oil of eucalyptus, like so many essential oils has caused fatalities from intestinal irritation[ 269 ]. Death is reported from ingestion of 4 - 24 ml of essential oils, but recoveries are also reported for the same amount[ 269 ]. Symptoms include gastroenteric burning and irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, oxygen deficiency, ,weakness, dizziness, stupor, difficult respiration, delirium, paralysis, convulsions, and death, usually due to respiratory failure[ 269 ].
Habitats Found mainly in swamps and on the edges of coastal lagoons and rivers where it is subject to periodic flooding[ 303 ].
Range Australia - New South Wales, Queensland.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Eucalyptus robusta Swamp Mahogany, Eucalyptus Gum

Eucalyptus robusta Swamp Mahogany, Eucalyptus Gum


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Native to Eastern Australia, Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) grows up to 30 m tall in swampy or waterlogged soils. It has a dense canopy. The bark is thick and spongy, and reddish brown in colour. The leaves are broad and dark green. The flowers are white or cream and form into clusters. Swamp mahogany is a long-lived tree that can live for at least 200 years. It is reported to have significant anti-malarial activity. Infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of malarial fever, colds, cough, influenza, asthma, sinusitis, and diabetes. On the other hand, decoction of the leaves is used for stiffness, rheumatism, and epilepsy. Essential oil from the plant has antibacterial and antifungal activity. The wood is suitable for general construction, poles, fence, flooring, etc. The tree is drought-tolerant and suitable for xeriscaping.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Eucalyptus robusta is an evergreen Tree growing to 30 m (98ft) by 20 m (65ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The flowers are pollinated by Bees, Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Eucalyptus multiflora Poir. Eucalyptus rostrata Cav.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Gum

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antiasthmatic  Antibacterial  Antifungal  Antirheumatic  Epilepsy  Febrifuge  Malaria

The tree is reported to have significant antimalarial activity[303 ]. An infusion of the leaves is used in both Africa and China for treatment of malarial fever[299 ]. In Mauritius and Réunionthe leaves are used for baths, inhalations and infusions to treat fever, colds, cough and influenza. Inhalation is also recommended for treatment of asthma and sinusitis, and infusions are taken against diabetes[299 ]. A decoction of the leaves is used in baths to treat stiffness, rheumatism and epilepsy[299 ]. In Madagascar a handful of buds is rubbed and squeezed, and the sap is applied to the nostrils to relieve headache[299 ]. The essential oil has shown antibacterial and antifungal activity[299 ]. Ethanol extracts of the leaves have shown antioxidant activity[299 ]. Phenolic compounds with activity against the malaria-inducing protozoan Plasmodium bergheihave been isolated from the leaf[299 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Charcoal  Essential  Fencing  Fuel  Furniture  Gum  Insecticide  Shelterbelt  Soil reclamation  Soil stabilization  Tannin  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The tree is used in reforestation schemes and is also sometimes planted to stabilize dunes. It is suitable for planting in coastal areas as shelterbelts. Although intolerant of salt spray, it is quite wind firm. It is often used as a windbreak, even though the trees often become deformed by continuous exposure to wind[ 299 , 303 ]. Because of their rapid growth, Eucalyptus species use a relatively large amount of water and can be used as pumps to lower the water table and help dry wet sites[ 299 , 303 ]. This species has been used very successfully in to dry swampy ground, making it possible to grow less flood-tolerant species on the same site[ 303 ]. Other Uses: The gum in the trunk contains about 30% tannin[ 303 ]. The bark contains over 8% tannins[ 601 ]. The dried leaves yield up to 41% tannin[ 601 ]. The essential oil yield from the leaves is 1.7%, with the characteristic constituents being piperitone, rho-cymene, linalool, 1,8-cineole, terpinen-4-ol, citronellyl acetate and alpha-terpinol[ 303 ]. The heartwood is pale red when freshly cut, turning orange-red or red-brown with age; it is clearly demarcated from the up to 5cm wide band of pale brown sapwood. The grain is interlocked, texture coarse. Quartersawn surfaces sometimes have a ribbon figure of light and dark stripes. The wood is fairly heavy, moderately hard, strong, durable and able to be used in moist conditions, resistant to attacks by fungi and most insects, including marine borers, and moderately resistant to termite attack. The high shrinkage, coupled with the interlocked grain, means the wood requires careful drying. During drying distortion and splitting may occur; serious degrade can be avoided by air drying to a moisture content below 30% before kiln drying. The wood is not stable in service. The wood works well and takes a good polish. It is somewhat abrasive, and planing may be affected by interlocked grain. Therefore, slow speeds and a cutting angle of 20° are recommended. Sawing and working properties are generally good, although gummy exudates may clog up saws. The wood holds nails well, but pre-boring is necessary to avoid splitting. It turns well, and paints and waxes satisfactorily. Gluing is fairly difficult. The wood is not suitable for steam-bending. It is used for general construction and for poles, fencing, and wharf and bridge work. Other uses include pallets, house siding, flooring, ordinary furniture, interior trim, and panelling. Because of its strength and durability, it is also commonly used for mine props, railway sleepers, fence posts, stakes and gates. The stakes last a long time in the ground and can be driven repeatedly without splitting. The timber is also used for pulpwood, but the pulp is dark reddish-brown and is not as good for this purpose as some other species of Eucalyptus[ 299 , 303 ]. The wood makes an excellent fuel and is good for making charcoal[ 299 , 303 ]. It has an energy value of 19,600 - 20,500 kJ/kg[ 299 ].

Special Uses

Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A plant of the lowland subtropics, remarkably, swamp mahogany adapts to a wide variety of conditions, from equatorial regions with maximum temperatures of about 35°c, to more temperate climates where it can endure frost, provided the frosts are not severe[ 303 ]. It grows naturally at elevations up to 100 metres in areas where the mean maximum temperature in the hottest month is 30 - 32°c, and the mean minimum of the coldest month is about 3 - 5°c[ 303 ]. Throughout its native range, from 5 to 10 light frosts occur each year[ 303 ]. It has proved to be very adaptable in the tropics, where it can grow from sea level to elevations of 1,100 metres with a mean annual rainfall that ranges from 1,000 - 6,350 mm[ 303 ]. Requires a sunny position[ 303 ]. Succeeds on a range of soils, but prefers stiff clays and leached sandy loams[ 303 ]. The tree is exceedingly tolerant to prolonged flooding, so it is extensively planted in swampy areas and along rivers[ 303 ]. Tolerant of very acid soils[ 279 ]. Trees start flowering when they are 3 - 5 years old. Seed dispersal is mainly by wind. The tree regenerates freely, and dense thickets of saplings can be found near old stands[ 299 ]. A fast growing tree, it has reached a height of 27 metres in 15 years from seed in tropical plantations[ 379 ]. The annual growth in height is usually 1.8 - 2.4 metres during the first few years, slowing down to 1.5 - 1.8 metres later[ 299 ]. The plant grows well in plantations on good sites, but because of its ability to grow on both poorly drained and draughty locations, it is usually planted on adverse sites[ 303 ]. It regenerates in areas flooded with fresh water, and its roots appear to be able to penetrate the heavy clays found in these conditions to reach the aerated soils below[ 303 ]. The growth habit also helps it to establish on difficult but not necessarily flooded soils in localities widely different from its normal habitat[ 303 ]. The tree can send out aerial roots from its trunk[ 303 ]. Plants coppice well up to the age of 25 years[ 303 ]. It recovers well from fire, sending out shoots from relatively small branches a few centimetres in diameter[ 303 ]. Under optimal conditions, the tree begins flowering by the end of its third growing season. More commonly, trees begin flowering when they are 5 years old[ 303 ]. In tropical areas, such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, flowers may appear at almost any time of the year[ 303 ]. Planted seedlings are susceptible to competition and shading, and generally require two weedings in the first six months[ 303 ]. The length of rotation is largely determined by the product desired. For fuel wood, the tree is sometimes grown in plantations on a 4 - 5 year rotation; for pulpwood an 8 - 10 year rotation is appropriate; whilst saw logs can be produced in plantations or natural stands using 30 - 60 year rotations[ 303 ]. Most E. Robusta plantations are regenerated from coppice shoots. The leaves are aromatic and, when crushed, have a spicy, resinous odour[ 303 ]. Eucalyptus species have not adopted a deciduous habit and continue to grow until it is too cold for them to do so. This makes them more susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. If temperature fluctuations are more gradual, as in a woodland for example, the plants have the opportunity to stop growing and become dormant, thus making them more cold resistant. A deep mulch around the roots to prevent the soil from freezing also helps the trees to survive cold conditions. The members of this genus are remarkably adaptable however, there can be a dramatic increase in the hardiness of subsequent generations from the seed of survivors growing in temperate zones[ 200 ]. Eucalyptus monocultures are an environmental disaster, they are voracious, allelopathic and encourage the worst possible attitudes to land use and conservation[ 200 ]. Flowering Time: Early summer, Early spring, Late summer, Late spring, Mid summer, Mid spring(Mid Winter Blooms repeatedly). Blooming Color: White(Pale Pink White/Near White). Spacing: over 40 ft. (12 m). Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a sunny position and make sure the compost is not allowed to dry out[ 11 , 78 , 134 ]. Species that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold stratification at 2°c[ 200 ]. Germination can take only 4 days, but in cooler conditions can take 1 month or more[ 303 ]. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as the second set of seed leaves has developed, if left longer than this they might not move well. The seedlings are ready for planting in the field when they are 25 - 30 cm tall, usually after 3 - 4 months. The seed has a long viability[ 200 ]. Vegetative propagation by grafting and rooting stem cuttings has been done with young trees, but it is not a common method of reproduction[ 303 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Swamp Mahogany, Eucalyptus Gum, Blue Gum Eucalyptus

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available


Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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