Grey Box NSW QLD Doug Beckers/Flickr

Grey Box NSW QLD

Eucalyptus moluccana

Did You Know?

  • Is a dominant tree species of the endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland Community, heavily impacted by urban development with only 5 percent remaining in the Sydney region
  • Grey Box defoliation is caused by jumping plant-lice (psyllids); an outbreak in Western Sydney has attacked hundreds of hectares of mature Grey Box in parks, reserves and backyards from Blacktown to the Blue Mountains
FactBox Image

Also known as Gum-topped Box. Tree to 25 m high.

Bark is rough on part or all of trunk, thin, box-type or tessellated (mosaic-like), grey or mottled with grey and white patches; smooth bark white, cream or pale-grey, often shiny.

Leaves

Adult leaves alternate, broadly lance-shaped, 7 - 17 cm long, 2 - 5 cm wide, green, glossy, concolorous (both sides of the leaf blade are the same colour).

Flowers

White and usually clustered in groups of 7. Sometimes there are more than 7 or there may appear to be less as flowers have dropped off. They occur in multiple groups at the end of small branches.

Flower buds are ovate (egg-shaped) to fusiform (spindle shaped; tapering at both ends), 5 - 9 m long, 3 - 4 mm diameter; scar absent.

Fruits/Seeds

Cylindrical or ovoid (egg or barrel-shaped).

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower

  • Full flowering (record all days)

  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)

  • Not flowering

  • Fruiting

Insect outbreak

The presence of adult and juvenile psyllids (jumping plant lice) are being monitored on this species as an indicator of ecosystem health. Add in Additional comments and submit multiple sightings if more than one photo is required.

  • Average number of adult psyllids
  • Average number of juvenile psyllids
  • Average number of psyllid eggs

Climate Adaptations

The frequency and severity of insect outbreaks in forest ecosystems are predicted to increase with climate change. Some insects may result in having the advantage over trees. A psyllid outbreak could be an example of the unexpected consequences of climate change on native ecosystems.

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When and Where

When To Look

  • All year for flowering and insect outbreaks (psyllids)
  • Flowering time can be location dependent, attributable to variation in climate and geographical influences

Where To Look

  • NSW and QLD
  • On the coastal plains and ranges northwards from Jervis Bay in NSW to the area between Rockhampton and Mackay in Queensland
  • A substantial gap to the northern occurrences in the ranges from west of Paluma to the southern part of the Atherton Tableland; also two small disjunct patches east of Clermont near Eungella Dam
  • Widespread in grassy woodland or forest on loamy soils of moderate to high fertility
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

Similar Species

Closely related to the Narrow-leaved Box or Grey Box (E. microcarpa), which is a more inland species with rough bark higher up the stem and smaller leaves, buds and fruit.

Fruits of E. moluccana are barrel-shaped and resemble those of the related NSW tableland and western slopes species, E. albens. The latter species differs, however, in having a greyish to glaucous crown and larger, often glaucous, buds and fruit.