Admire the Old Snow White Tree: An Everlasting Illustration of Nature’s Persistent Magnificence


In New South Wales, Australia, the alpine Eucalyptus pauciflora trees thrive in the mountains of Southeastern Australia’s mainland, dominating subalpine woodlands at the altitudinal limit of tree growth. These remarkable trees, capable of living for over 2,000 years, are found nowhere else in the world. Kosciuszko National Park is the proud habitat of the tallest flowering plants on Earth, the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans), as well as rare and endangered species like the brush-tailed rock wallaby.

Eucalyptus pauciflora, commonly known as snow gum, cabbage gum, or white sally, is a species of tree or mallee native to eastern Australia. Exhibiting smooth bark, lance-shaped to elliptical leaves, flower buds in clusters of seven to fifteen, white flowers, and cup-shaped, conical, or hemispherical fruit, this species is widespread and locally common in woodlands in cold sites above 700 meters (2,300 feet) in altitude.

Eucalyptus pauciflora, often referred to as snow gum, cabbage gum, or white sally, is a tree or shrub indigenous to eastern Australia. Boasting smooth bark, lance-shaped to elliptical leaves, flower buds arranged in groups of seven to fifteen, white flowers, and cup-shaped, conical, or hemispherical fruit, it is a prevalent and abundant species in woodlands located in cold regions at elevations exceeding 700 meters (2,300 feet).

Eucalyptus pauciflora is a tree or mallee typically reaching a height of 20–30 m (66–98 ft) and forming a lignotuber. The bark is smooth, exhibiting white, grey, or yellow hues that shed in ribbons and sometimes display insect scribbles. Young plants and coppice regrowth have dull, bluish-green, or glaucous, broadly lance-shaped to egg-shaped leaves that are 44–170 mm (1.7–6.7 in) long and 20–85 mm (0.79–3.35 in) wide.

Adult leaves maintain the same glossy green shade on both sides, ranging from lance-shaped to curved or elliptical, measuring 60–200 mm (2.4–7.9 in) in length and 12–50 mm (0.47–1.97 in) in width, tapering to a petiole 8–33 mm (0.31–1.30 in) long. The flower buds are arranged in leaf axils in clusters of between seven and fifteen, sometimes more, on an unbranched peduncle 3–15 mm (0.12–0.59 in) long, with individual buds on pedicels up to 6 mm (0.24 in) long.

Mature buds are oval, measuring 4–8 mm (0.16–0.31 in) in length and 3–5 mm (0.12–0.20 in) in width, with a conical to rounded operculum. Flowering occurs from October to February, and the flowers are white. The fruit is a woody, cup-shaped, conical, or hemispherical capsule, measuring 5–11 mm (0.20–0.43 in) in length and width.

*Eucalyptus pauciflora* was first formally described in 1827 by Kurt Polycarp Joachim Sprengel from an unpublished description by Franz Sieber. Sprengel published the description in *Systema Vegetabilium*. The specific epithet *pauciflora* is from the Latin *pauciflorus* meaning “few-flowered.” The term *pauciflora* (few-flowered) is a bit of a misnomer and may originate from an early collected specimen losing its buds in transit.



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