Eucalyptus pulchella ( aka linearis)
Tasmanian White Peppermint. A medium sized elegant ornamental tree with weeping clusters of highly aromatic foliage. Grow as a standard tree or coppiced shrub. Tolerates coastal conditions. Read on for full description. Call us on 0751 526 1511 for help in choosing your Eucalyptus.
Why we like this variety:-
- Distinguished looking ornamental tree with elegant habit
- Fantastic aroma of peppermint from crushed foliage
- Rich dark green feathery foliage - willow-like
Botanical Name: Eucalyptus pulchella (aka linearis) MYRTACEÆ; Myrtle Family
Common Name: White Peppermint, Narrow-leaved Peppermint (Tasmania)
Status: Evergreen Tree
Origin: Central and South-eastern Tasmania (north of Hobart to Bothwell and east to Swansea)
Nursery Notes 2020: Over-wintered stock now available.
E pulchella is only available in 5 litre and 20 litre pot sizes. It can be contract grown to order in all other pot sizes.
Description, habit, uses and attributes: Eucalyptus pulchella is a medium sized ornamental tree with clusters of narrow strap-like green foliage held in a weeping arrangement, giving a very pleasing effect. One of the 'peppermint' species found in Tasmania; the foliage has many, many oil glands, which release a delightful and striking, clean, intense peppermint fragrance when crushed.
E. pulchella is cultivated extensively around Tasmania, New Zealand and Australia, where it can be seen as a street tree and in plantations for sawn timber and pulp production; but is seldom grown outside of the Antipodes, possibly because its many talents have not yet been discovered!
Lignotuber: E. pulchella forms a lignotuber, (which is a good thing) and will regenerate from the base of the trunk if cut down by man, beast or nature.
How to use in the landscape and/or garden:
How to grow or train it to get the best out of it
Good Specimen Tree for the wider landscape/for the larger garden: E. pulchella is a beautiful ornamental tree and interesting species, which deserves wider planting in larger gardens, parks, country estates and arboreta. It would be especially effective planted in a small group or an avenue. E. pulchella is a fitting design choice for xerophytic gardens and those with an Australasian or Mediterranean theme.
For the smaller garden: grow E. pulchella as a coppiced specimen to keep the size down to around 6-8ft. It will take on the outline of a tall shrub rose or hazel bush (see our notes on pruning and training/pollarding and coppicing)
Floral Art: E. pulchella can usefully produce foliage for domestic purposes, but is not yet on the list for commercial production. Keep pollarded for reliable production
Firewood Production: could no doubt double up as an ornamental that produces viable firewood for small scale domestic purposes, but is not listed for commercial production
Hedge/Screens & Windbreaks: with E. pulchella's ability to tolerate coastal conditions, it may be worth a trial as a coppiced windbreak screen (planted in a double staggered row and coppiced on an alternate cycle). Do contact us if you would like to trial this.
Rural/Agricultural: the evergreen dark green foliage of E. pulchella will look comfortable in the British landscape, providing wildlife shelter and habitat during winter months. I have been told that horses and livestock like to shelter under Eucalyptus trees because they provide cooling shade and relief from flies (no personal experience, but I can see that the oils in the foliage will deter insects and the quick rate of evaporation from the foliage possibly cools the air beneath)
Chickens: Shredded foliage added to chicken bedding will help to deter red mites - they find the peppermint oil irritating (the mites that is!). Chickens use the leaves to make nests.
Ecology: Eucalyptus flowers provide for bees and other pollinating insects
Environmental: E. pulchella is a very adaptable species, tolerating some drought and salt-laden winds. It is worth trialling in Britain in coastal locations - see planting preferences below.
Pot Culture outdoors: grow E. pulchella in an Air-pot container placed inside a large heavy decorative pot (see our notes on growing in patio pots). Tip prune through the summer to encourage bushiness or prune every Spring prior to potting on.
Houseplant: we have no idea how E. pulchella would perform as a conservatory plant, but it is worth giving it a go, if only for the wonderful aroma. Keep in a very sunny location.
Shoots 'n Leaves: Young shoots: claret coloured new stems
Juvenile foliage: strap-like (narrowly lanceolate to linear), 2-3.5cm long but only 0.2-0.4cm wide. Holly green
Adult foliage: strap-like and very long, 3.3–12 cm long, 0.3–1 cm wide and a glossy rich holly green colour
Bark: a good feature of E. pulchella, smooth bark from a distance looks striped silvery white and seal grey. Viewed up close, it is striated with clotted cream, pale custard and pewter, sometimes with a touch of salmon pink; shredding like cadbury's flake and in longer ribbons.The bark is smooth throughout the tree although on very mature trees it may become rough at the base.
Flowers: fluffy white with between 9 and 15 buds per umbel
Leaf Aroma: Fantastic. Powerful, clean peppermint fragrance. Here's the science bit - the aroma is due to piperitone (a liquid unsaturated cyclic ketone C10H16O), a camphoraceous odor found in various essential oils and it is used in the manufacture of menthol and thymol. It has impressive antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Rate of Growth: moderate to moderately fast
Height in maturity, if left unpruned: some trees only reach 15m (40ft) others can get a little taller to around 20m (60ft) - which equates to the size of a mature Alder tree and not as tall as a mature Silver Birch. If coppiced E. pulchella will take on the size and shape of a tall shrub rose or coppiced Hazel tree
Hardiness: typically -8°C, could tolerate -10°C in a sheltered aspect once mature, must have free draining soil. South and West side of the UK where it is milder and also locations below the Gloucester/London line, also mild island climates. Planting anywhere else in the UK must be considered as a trial - do stay in touch and let us know how you get on.
Planting Position and Soil Preference: E. pulchella enjoys full sun in ordinary garden soil; also does well on free draining to well drained sandy/stoney soils. Water well during its first summer to aid establishment. Ultimately, E. pulchella is very drought tolerant.
Geographically: Happy to grow anywhere below a line drawn between Gloucester and London, all along the west coast of Britain up to and including the west coast of Scotland. Worth trialling within 5 miles of the east coast of England. If planting inland in colder locations, it may be best to grow E. pulchella as a coppiced specimen, to keep the lignotuber active, just in case you experience a very hard winter. A thick (200 mm) bark mulch will be vitally important under these conditions
Make life easier for you and your new tree: Plant with the mycorrhizal fungi product Rootgrow. Eucalyptus in particular have a special, lifelong relationship with their root fungi, the latter of which actively transport food and water directly into the tree roots, helping your new Euc establish faster and more efficiently, particularly in challenging types of soil.
Meaning of the name: Eucalyptus pulchella: Botanical Latin 'pulchellus' meaning beautiful. I suspect this refers to the elegant leaf arrangement and overall countenance of the tree.
The name E. linearis (Dehnhardt), given in 1832, technically gives way to E. pulchella (Desfontaines) of 1829, because it was called pulchella first......rules of nomenclature!
Notes: Because of various botanical features, Eucalyptus pulchella belongs to Eucalyptus subgenus Eucalyptus section Aromatica (the Peppermints). Within the Aromatica section, there is a series called Insulanae (to do with the leaf oil glands), which E. pulchella (White Peppermint) shares with E. amydalina (Black Peppermint), E. coccifera (Mount Wellington Peppermint), E. nitida (Smithton Peppermint), E. risdonii (The Risdon Peppermint), E. tenuiramis (Silver Peppermint). Each one of these Eucalypts has its own 'personality traits', but shares the fact that they all have the most amazing foliage fragrance - worth growing one for this alone.