Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah)

Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah) fruit

Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah) fruit

Eucalyptus macrocarpa is a plant from Western Australia and is much valued for its huge dark pinky red flowers and grey- green foliage in floral art work. The gum nuts measure about 3 inches (75mm) across and are also very decorative. When they split to release the seeds, an opening is left which will hold a small candle. With the base levelled off these make a great Christmas decoration.

This beautiful shrubby tree has been the subject of some comments on an earlier article that I wrote. I responded to one reader who asked about the life span and hardiness of the tree…

“I can tell you from experience that Eucalyptus macrocarpa is a long lived plant. One that I know, at the end of a school playground, continues even now after 25+ years of being trampled, swung in, climbed through, footballs thrown in etc. Another near where I live is about 23 years old. These are mallee plants ie, shoot from the base when broken or cut or burnt, and have multiple stems. They need good drainage and airflow around them otherwise they tend to suffer from sooty mould. Eucalyptus macrocarpa is well worth trying for the flower display. It would make good large pot plants if you cannot give it the conditions that is needed.”

Another reader’s comment would interest Australian plant growers.

From Ron…”I have grown Eucalyptus macrocarpa in my garden for more than 20 years. They seem to thrive on the hot/dry summers we have here in Escondido, CA. (We only average about 12 inches (300mm) of rainfall a year and recently we haven’t even seen that. Our rainy season in in the fall and winter.)

I rarely ever water the plants and they are very adapted to drought once established. My trees (very shrubby, multibranched, 12ft.(4metres) high) are absolutely beautiful. Although the oldest of my 3 trees is a little more than 20 years old, I know of several in San Diego (about 20 minutes from my house) that are more than 35 years old and I suspect thay live a lot longer than that.
So they have a very long lifespan.”

The conditions sound like mine here except that we are experiencing drought at the moment and have no subsoil moisture. Even the native plants are struggling. (The photo above shows some sooty mould on the leaves.)

More on this plant here.


4 Responses to “Eucalyptus macrocarpa (Mottlecah)”

  1. Trish Pratt says:

    I have seen a Eucalyptus macrocarpa growing well in Junee NSW. I collected seeds from this tree which is about 40 yrs old and have about 80 seedlings in forestry tubes if anybody is interested in trying one (or more).

    Trish (Phone: 0428 493 071)

  2. Chris says:

    My name is Chris and I am in Sydney. I am searching for a Desert Rose for my daughter who lives in Port Macquarie. I have heard they do not do well on the coast due to high humidity, however I still want to try.
    Please contact me if you can help.
    sincerely Christine

  3. Heather says:

    I just bought seeds in ‘cheap as chips’ in Echuca, ( Northern Victoria) I realize your post is from years ago,but thought I’d let you know anyway.
    Hope you’ve had some luck!

    • Corinne says:

      Some companies have taken to packaging seed from the more spectacular Australian wild flowers. I have no trouble germinating the seed. It gets more troublsome when the seedlings get too wet. I need to try ti tree oil to prevent damping off.

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