Brindabella, ACT

Mt Franklin, ACT

Mt Hotham, Vic.

Natural populations

Eucalyptus pauciflora is a highly variable species, in which at least five subspecies have been recognised [1,2]. These taxa represent clinal morphological variation along an altitudinal gradient and the subtle traits that separate them often breakdown.

Another Snow Gum, E. lacrimans, could be considered an infraspecific variant of E. pauciflora as it mainly differs in having pendulous branchlets. Snow gums are usually only 10-20 m tall (rarely 30 m tall) and become bushy shrubs or low, twisted, wind-pruned trees on exposed ridgetops [1]. Habitats include mountain slopes, ridge tops, tablelands and plains at lower altitudes, while soils range from on shallow rocky clays to well-drained alluvials [1].

Flowering and seeds

This species flowers during October to March [1,4]. Seed capsules persist on trees until at least the next flowering season. There are about 100-150 viable seeds per gram; seeds start to germinate in about 5-7 days if grown at 15-20°C with no pretreatment required [4]. Germination response is improved if seeds are pretreated by being kept moist for three weeks at 4°C.

Cultivation and uses

This species is renowned for its cold tolerance and has potential to provide shelter, protection and to remediate gully erosion on cold sites. The wood has limited commercial uses as it lacks density, is relatively soft and inclined to warp but is used locally for firewood [1,5]. Natural stands are valued by apiculturalists as they provide a good source of honey and pollen [5]. Eucalyptus pauciflora is commonly cultivated as an ornamental tree in urban areas that experience cold winters.

Key descriptors:
Climate parameters
Mean annual rainfall: 600-1900 mm
Rainfall distribution pattern: summer, uniform or winter
Frosts (approx. no. per year): up to 20 or greater than 20
Frost intensity: light to moderate (0 to -5°C) or severe or heavy (greater than -5°C)
Mean annual temperature: 2-17 °C
Mean max. temperature of the hottest month: 17-26 °C
Mean min. temperature of the coldest month: -8-6 °C
Altitude: 0-2000 metres
Tolerance of extremes in climate
Drought: known to be moderately drought tolerant
Fire: regenerates foliage after damaging fire
Frost: tolerates frosts in the 0° to -5°C range or tolerates heavy frosts colder than -5°C
Wind: known or has attributes to make an excellent windbreak
Soil factors
Texture: clay loam, heavy clay (greater than 50% clay), light to medium clay (35-50% clay) or loam, sandy loam, sandy clay loam
Soil pH reaction: acidic (less than 6.5)
Soil depth: skeletal to shallow (less than 30 cm) or moderate to deep (30-100 cm or greater)
Drainage:  well-drained
Salinity: non-saline
Tolerance of adverse soils
Extremes in pH: acidity
Extremes in texture: clayey
Salinity: nil - sensitive to saline soils
Soil waterlogging tolerance: nil - sensitive to waterlogged soils
Biological traits under cultivation
Habit: evergreen shrub less than 2 m tall, shrub or small tree less than 5 m tall, tree 10-20 m tall, tree 5-10 m tall or with multiple stems from or near ground level
Longevity: moderate to long lived (>15 years)
Growth rate: fast, moderate or slow
Coppicing ability: vigorous, responds to pruning, pollarding; lignotuberous
Root system: moderate to deep or shallow and spreading
Erosion control potential: excellent for clayey sites
Windbreak potential: excellent (known or has good attributes)
Shade tolerance: grows best in full sunlight
Wood density: low (less than 600 kg/cubic metre) or mod. to high (greater than 600 kg/cubic metre)
Carbon sequestration potential: low to moderate
Potential farm use: excellent windbreak, good ornamental attributes, shelterbelt or shade for stock
Specialty products: flowers produce nectar for honey production, pollen has value for apiculture
Urban use: good as an ornamental or amenity plant or ideal maintenance free street tree
Potentially undesirable attributes
Growth habit: shallow roots may outcompete adjacent plants


[1] Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnson RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (2006) Forest Trees of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

[2] Slee AV, Connors J, Brooker MIH, Duffy SM, West JG (2006) EUCLID Eucalypts of Australia. Third Edition CD ROM Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.

[3] Rule, K. (1994) Three new endemic subspecies of snow gum for Victoria and notes o the taxonomy of the informal superspecies Pauciflora L.D. Pryor and L.A.S. Johnson. Muelleria 8: 223-233.

[4] Gunn BV (2001) Australian Tree Seed Centre Operations Manual. Internal Publication, CSIRO Australian Tree Seed Centre, ACT. [Online at  Accessed March 2008]

[5] Clemson A (1985) Honey and Pollen Flora. Inkata Press, Melbourne.

Internet links

Australian National Botanic Gardens:; and

eFloraSA Electronic Flora of South Australia:

PlantNET National Herbarium of New South Wales: