Eucalyptus sideroxylon: is a member of the Myrtaceae family and is known as the Mugga Ironbark.
Eucalyptus sideroxylon is a small to tall tree with a solitary trunk. The eye-catching bark is persistent, hard, very thick, deeply furrowed and reddish brown to black in colour (see image on right).
The leaves are lanceolate, dull green, grey or glaucous (with a bluish lustre). Buds are carried in clusters of from three to seven. The flowers are large, about two centimetres across, cream, pink or red in colour. They are often profuse and conspicuous. Pink and red-flowered forms are very attractive. Honeyeaters flock to the flowers regardless of their colour. Flowering is said to extend from May to October. The specimen illustrated blooms from April to December. Capsules or gum nuts are barrel-shaped and carried on long stalks.
Eucalyptus sideroxylon is a magnificent tree. The dark, furrowed bark stands out in the bush and garden whilst the flowers are colourful and rich in nectar.
The Mugga Ironbark is a valuable timber tree. The dark red, very hard wood is used in heavy construction and railway sleepers. This latter use is being superseded by concrete sleepers.
The specimen illustrated is part of a line of trees planted along the New England Highway, south of Tamworth in northern New South Wales. This is one of our favourite plants. We are always on the lookout for this tree when travelling along the Highway. More often than not this Mugga Ironbark does not disappoint and is in flower when we pass.
Eucalyptus sideroxylon is widely distributed and occurs from south-eastern Queensland through inland New South Wales to north-eastern Victoria. There is a large population about ten kilometres west of Yallaroo. A few years ago we discovered a few specimens on a west-facing slope in a neighbour’s property. These trees are less than one kilometre from our house.
The Mugga Ironbark has been successfully cultivated in Brazil, Congo, South Africa, California, Hawaii and Zimbabwe.
Eucalyptus sideroxylon is probably too large for suburban gardens but would be at home in rural settings. Three trees planted close together would create a stunning landscape feature.
Propagate from seed.