A real Eucalyptus vernicosa

Eucalyptus vernicosa has (to use a rather worn out expression) become something of an enigma. Coming from the highest alpine areas of Tasmania, it grows as a compact shrub fully exposed to blasting winds and snow. Not surprisingly, it is one of Tasmania’s cold-hardiest eucalypts. It used to be available from seed companies on occasion, but no one has offered it in years. Even when it was available, most of the resulting plants would not grow in the nice compact form that this species is supposed to have. Most plants would grow upright and tree-like, indicating that the plants are not, in fact, E. vernicosa, but exhibit intergradation or hybridization with the closely related E. subcrenulata.

In my garden, I have seven plants that were supposed to be E. vernicosa. After observing these plants for several years, I would now conclude that one of them is indeed this species, and is not an intergrade or hybrid. It has a lower, more sprawling habit than the rest, though I wouldn’t think of it as compact – the leaves are spaced rather widely apart. E. subcrenulata always has flower buds and capsules in groups of three, but E. vernicosa may have them in ones or threes. Thus, I was excited to see that this plant has flower buds and capsules in ones, proving that it is indeed E. vernicosa.



In case any of you are greedily ogling my vernicosa capsules, I have just picked a few of them off and we will see if they open up. Subcrenulata (for me anyways) tends to be reluctant to mature and the seed capsules don’t really ripen and open up in the first year. So vernicosa may be the same, and I don’t want to pull them all off the plant only to have no seeds come out of them. Anyways… there are only a handful of capsules so I will probably just get a few seeds and plant them all myself to be made available sometime in the future. Stay tuned!

It should also be noted that the more upright growing plants that look more like E. subcrenulata hybrids have produced no flower buds that I can find yet.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. roy
    Jun 06, 2008 @ 07:48:40

    Hello I was hoping to try growing E.vernicosa in Mt Tamborine in Qld and I was after a few seeds. After readig your Blog I’m not so confident, but if you can help please let me know .

    Regards Roy


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