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Eucalyptus bridgesiana - Apple Box

Apple Gum Ornamental evergreen tree for cold wet clay soils. Coppice like a Dogwood to produce fabulous floral art cut foliage. Good quality pollen & nectar for bees. Agricultural windbreak & shelter tree. Call 0751 5261511 for help in choosing.

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Nursery Notes 2018:

Spring  - tall 3 litre currently 150-170cm tall

1 litre starter trees ready again in June - email me to be put on the early warning list


Botanical Name: Eucalyptus bridgesiana          MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family

Common Name: Apple Box Moonbi, Apple, Apple Gum, But-but,

Swamp Apple(eastern Victoria, eastern New South Wales, and southern Queensland)

Status: Evergreen Tree

Origin:  New South Wales on the northern and Southern Tablelands, extending to Queensland and central and eastern Victoria.


Why we like this variety:-

  • Excellent for producing good quality foliage for floral art, through coppicing
  • Value to apiculture: providing nectar for bees, leading to good honey
  • A vigorous tree for the larger landscape providing windbreak shelter, shade for livestock

Description, habit,  uses and attributes:

In Australia  it can be seen growing in grassy woodland in the company of E. pauciflora and E. rubida and also near watercourses.

Lignotuber:  E. bridgesiana has a lignotuber (a good thing), which means it regenerates off the root system if cut down by man, beast or nature. It responds vigorously to coppicing and pollarding.

How to use in the landscape and/or garden:

  • Cut foliage is fabulous. Heart shaped leaves in a stunning shade of blue. Closely packed alternate leaves clasp the stem. Growing method is that of managing a multi-stemmed bush such as a Dogwood (Cornus alba) or Hazel (Corylus avellana) copse with annual or biennial pruning - see our notes on pruning and training: coppicing
  • Good standard ornamental tree for the wider landscape, looking very similar to a standard apple tree in outline, with a large open crown.  When viewed from a distance, leaf clusters are in 'broccoli formation'. 
  • Environmental: The ability of E. bridgesiana to withstand cold wet clay soils leads to speculation that this tree has potential as use for remediation work with gully erosion of clay soils
  • Rural/Agricultural: a quick growing shade tree for livestock,  provides wind-breaking shelter
  • Ecology/Wildlife:  produces copious amounts of pollen and nectar for approximately 2 months, for bees; leading to good quality honey. Worth trialling as a coppiced/pollarded specimen in moderately sized gardens for honey production.

The timber of E. bridgesiana is quite soft compared with other Eucalypts and is apparently not considered to be good for either firewood or construction, but you can't have everything!

Shoots 'n Leaves: 

Young shoots: stems glaucous (covered in white wax) and textured, foliage blue

Juvenile foliage: interesting, roundish to heart-shaped with a crinkly edge, like a larger form of crenulata, but in strong french blue.  Approx 1-4 inches long and 1-3 inches wide.

Adult foliage: glossy green, typical lanceolate Eucalyptus shape about 5-8 inches long and 1 inch wide.

Bark: heavily textured and fissured, usually tessellated. Old bark is grey; new bark is mottled silvery grey and white over the whole trunk and major branch structure. Younger branches have smooth cream bark

Flowers: white in groups of 7

Leaf Aroma: typical Eucalyptus aroma
Rate of Growth: quite fast even for a Eucalyptus

Height in maturity, if left unpruned:  medium to large tree of around 20m. Although a large tree when left to its own devices, if regularly coppiced E. bridgesiana can be kept as a much smaller specimen. Size wise: think huge Beech tree kept as a beech hedge or topiary specimen, but with E. bridgesiana the shape will be more like a Hazel bush.

Hardiness: generally down to -8°C , could tolerate -10°C in a sheltered aspect once mature.  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:  Grows in any normal garden soil in full sun. Excellent choice for poor, cold, wet, clay soils of neutral to acidic pH, but not waterlogged soils. E. bridgesiana produces a moderate to deep and spreading root system. Plant with Rootgrow to assist with quick and efficient establishment of a strong root system.

Meaning of the name: E. bridgesiana named after Frederick Bridges (1840-1904), the education officer of New South Wales.

Apple, Apple Gum, possibly because the tree profile reminded early settlers of the large standard English apple tree

E. bridgesiana belongs to the group of eucalypts that includes E. nitens, which are renowned for their cold tolerance.


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