Eucalyptus ovata, commonly known as swamp gum or black gum,[2] is a species of small to medium-sized tree that is endemic to south-eastern Australia. It has mostly smooth bark, glossy green, lance-shaped to egg-shaped adult leaves, green flower buds in groups of seven, white flowers and conical to bell-shaped fruit.

Swamp gum
Eucalyptus ovata.jpg
Eucalyptus ovata in Maranoa Gardens
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Eucalyptus
E. ovata
Binomial name
Eucalyptus ovata
E. ovata.JPG
E. ovata, field distribution

Eucalyptus muelleri Naudin nom. illeg.


Eucalyptus ovata is a tree that typically grows to a height of 17–30 m (56–98 ft) and forms a lignotuber, but with a variable habit, from a straggly sapling in east Gippsland to stout-boled elsewhere. It has smooth, grey, whitish or pinkish-grey new bark, sometimes with loose rough bark near the base of larger trees. Young plants and coppice regrowth have elliptical to egg-shaped leaves that are 30–85 mm (1.2–3.3 in) long and 25–60 mm (0.98–2.36 in) wide. Adult leaves are the same shade of glossy green on both sides, lance-shaped to egg-shaped, 80–180 mm (3.1–7.1 in) long and 16–50 mm (0.63–1.97 in) wide, tapering to a petiole 15–33 mm (0.59–1.30 in) long. The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils on an unbranched peduncle, 3–14 mm (0.12–0.55 in) long, the individual buds on pedicels 2–4 mm (0.079–0.157 in) long. Mature buds are diamond-shaped, 5–9 mm (0.20–0.35 in) long and 4–6 mm (0.16–0.24 in) wide with a conical operculum. Flowering mainly occurs from June to November and the flowers are white. The fruit is a woody, conical to slightly bell-shaped capsule 3–8 mm (0.12–0.31 in) long and 4–8 mm (0.16–0.31 in) wide with the valves near rim level.[2][3][4][5][6]

Taxonomy and namingEdit

Eucalyptus ovata was first formally described in 1806 by Jacques Labillardière in Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen.[7][8] The specific epithet (ovata) is from the Latin ovatus, referring to the leaf shape.[2]

In 1916, Joseph Maiden described two varieties of E. ovata in his book, A Critical Revision of the Genus Eucalyptus, and the names have been accepted by the Australian Plant Census:

  • Eucalyptus ovata var. grandiflora Maiden;[9][10]:146,155
  • Eucalyptus ovata Labill. var. ovata.[10]:148[11]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Swamp gum is widespread in south-eastern Australia and is found from the western end of Kangaroo Island and the southern Mount Lofty ranges in the south-east of South Australia, to Tasmania, the southern half of Victoria and to south-eastern New South Wales as far north as Oberon and Hill Top. It grows in grassy woodland in low, temporarily or permanently damp sites.[2][3][4][6]


  1. ^ a b "Eucalyptus ovata". Australian Plant Census. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Eucalyptus ovata". Euclid: Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b Brooker, M. Ian H.; Slee, Andrew V. "Eucalyptus ovata". Royal Botanic Gardens, Victoria. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b Hill, K. "Eucalyptus ovata Labill". PlantNET. National Herbarium of New South Wales. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  5. ^ Brooker & Kleinig, Field Guide to Eucalypts, Vol 2 South Western and Southern Australia, Bloomings Books, Melbourne, 2001, ISBN 1-876473-28-2
  6. ^ a b Chippendale, George M. "Eucalyptus ovata". Australian Biological Resources Study, Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Eucalyptus ovata". APNI. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  8. ^ Labillardiere, J.J.H. de (1806). Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen. 2. Paris, France: Ex typographia Dominæ Huzard. pp. 13–14.
  9. ^ "Eucalyptus ovata var. grandiflora". Australian Plant Census. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  10. ^ a b Maiden, Joseph (1916). A Critical Revision of the Genus Eucalyptus. Sydney: New South Wales Government Printer. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Eucalyptus ovata var. ovata". Australian Plant Census. Retrieved 24 November 2019.