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Eucalyptus approximans

Barren Mountain Mallee. Small evergreen Eucalyptus tree for normal to dry garden soils in the neutral to acid pH range. Good for hedge-screens, floral art, patio pots, small natural style copse. Very attractive foliage and good bark detail. Call us on 0751 526 1511 for assistance in choosing your Eucalyptus

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Nursery Notes 2017: Autumn - E approximans available again Spring 2018


Botanical Name: Eucalyptus approximans                       MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Common Name: Barren Mountain Mallee,  Bell Fruited Ash
Status: Evergreen Tree                     

Origin: New South Wales, Southern Queensland, classified as being a vulnerable species due to its limited location estimated to be less than 4 km2 (Copeland 2008). largely within New England National Park, near Ebor

Why we like this variety:-

  • Small tree or mallee
  • Attractive green feathery foliage - great visual texture
  • Can be used as a hedge screen of moderate height
  • Foliage can be grown for use in floral art
  • Good container specimen for terrace pots

Description, habit,  uses and attributes:

Eucalyptus approximans  is a small evergreen tree with thin strap-like foliage giving the effect of a large attractive feather duster. 

Lignotuber: it has a lignotuber (a good thing), so if cut down by man, beast or nature it will resprout from the base, producing many shoots - a bit like a stooled Cornus (Red-stemmed Dogwood) or coppiced Hazel tree, which adds to its ability to act as an evergreen screen

How to use in the landscape and/or garden:

  • A good small specimen tree. Definitely a species to include in a gravel garden as it lends good shape, texture and form to an Australasian or Mediterranean garden.
  • Its feathery nature makes it effective as a 'net-curtain' type hedge-screen.
  • Its very attractive form makes E. approximans an excellent patio pot tree (see our notes on growing in pots)
  • E. approximans looks good when planted as an avenue.
  • The cut foliage can be used in floral art: see our notes on coppicing for floral art foliage production
  • In its natural Australian habitat, E. approximans is often seen growing in groups, under planted with shrubs, ferns and sedges, so it could be good as a small natural copse feature in the UK. The green fluffy foliage is faintly reminiscent of Willow trees.
  • E. approximans could be worth trialling on reclamation sites with free draining soil, due to its tolerance of high soil mineral content.

Shoots 'n Leaves: Young shoots: striking scarlet with deep carmine stems

Juvenile foliage: narrow, shiny and green, strap-like and almost vertical

Adult foliage: Green glossy adult leaves, linear to narrow lanceolate leaves, with a hint of being sickle shaped.

Bark:  Smooth and silvery to pale pewter, sometimes shiny with a hint of salmon pink, olive green or coffee colour, which sheds in ribbons high in the tree.  Beautiful after rain.

Flowers: white, usually in groups of 7, so quite a good show

Leaf Aroma: typical Eucalyptus fragrance

Rate of Growth: A slow to moderate grower for a Eucalyptus (fast for any other tree!)

Height in maturity, if left unpruned:  Typically growing to around 6-7m (20 ft) and certainly a small tree of less than 10m

Hardiness:  generally down to -8°C , could tolerate -10°C in a sheltered aspect once mature, must have free draining soil.  South and West side of the UK where it is milder and also below the Gloucester/London line, also mild island climates.

Planting Position and Soil Preference:  Enjoys full sun in a stony, gritty soil with excellent drainage. Not one for boggy ground.  This Eucalyptus would most likely prefer acidic soils, although we are carrying out trials at Grafton Nursery.

Knowing the strong relationship between Eucalyptus and mycorrhizal fungi, we recommend you plant using Rootgrow to assist with good establishment.  In March, sprinkle one sachet of Iron sequestrene around the root area. 

On Barren Mountain: (It can be found on shallow soils derived from trachyte which is an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture). I think its safe to say it grows on thin shallow free draining volcanic soils high in minerals!  Would benefit from a dressing of slow release Sulphur chips in May.

Meaning of the name 'approximans': means 'approaching' perhaps alluding to its close relationship with E. stricta.

E. approximans  is in the Eucalyptus series Strictae and may be related to the fine-leaved E. cunninghamii of the Blue Mountains and E. paliformis from remote Wadbilliga area of the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. 

The species was described by Joseph Maiden in 1920 from the Barren Mountain north-east of New South Wales


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