Welcome to Life Images by Jill

Welcome to Life Images by Jill.........Stepping into the light and bringing together the images and stories of our world.
I am a photographer, writer and multi-media artist. Through my blog I am
seeking to preserve images and memories of the beautiful world in which we live and the people in it.



Saturday, 1 August 2020

Is it a Eucalypt Macrocarpa or a Eucalyptus Rose Mallee?

Hi everyone, I hope you and yours are doing ok in these troubling times. We in Western Australia are battling to keep our internal borders closed from the rest of Australia, particularly as there continues to be a worrying upsurge in Covid cases in Victoria on the east coast. 

But this post is not about Covid, it is about Eucalypts.

There are around 900 species of eucalypts in Australia - in fact there are 550 species in Western Australia alone. It is therefore not surprising that it gets a little confusing when out in the bush trying to identify species when many look so similar. 

Last year I blogged about one of my favourites -  The Mottlecah - Eucalyptus macrocarpa.
I even said it was easily identified in the bush - but is it really? I've seen them quite often in the wheatbelt, but did I know what I was looking at?  Now looking at my new guide book, Eucalypts of Western Australia's wheatbelt by Malcolm French - I can see there are different varieties which grow in different areas, so I hope this will help me in future. 

In this photo you can see the many stages all together - the unopened buds, an opening bud, an opened bud, and two nuts. 

Recently we visited Kings Park in our capital city, Perth, as I heard the Mottlecah (the indigenous name for Macrocarpa) and its close relation the Rose Mallee were flowering, so I hoped to see them side by side and see for myself what is the difference.

If you are in Perth, particularly in spring, Kings Park Botanic Gardens is the place to visit. But really any time of year is beautiful with its views over Perth.

Kings Park is home to the spectacular Western Australian Botanic Garden, which displays over 3,000 species of the State’s unique flora. Two thirds of the 400 hectare park is protected as bushland and provides a haven for native biological diversity.

To find your way around, park in the main car park and visit the Visitor Information Centre located near the restaurant and gallery shop. 

Armed with a map and information and my camera we set off towards the "Roe gardens" where plants from the northern sandplain regions are displayed. There is a carpark nearby if you want a shorter walk, but it was lovely walking through the gardens. Though a little early for the spring wildflowers, there were however many plants starting to flower. 

I thought I had the Mottlecahs sorted in my mind, but the first Mottlecah we found (see below) was the Small-Leaved Mottlecah - Eucalyptus macrocarpa subsp elachantha 

The name relates to the smaller buds and flowers. Unfortunately this plant it wasn't flowering when we saw it. They have big bell shaped fruits.

 At this point I really suggest when you are doing this sort of walk to take photos of the name labels to help you later.
  Below is the Eucalyptus Macrocarpa - also known by the Aboriginal name Mottlecah. It has the largest flower of all the eucalypts. Superbly adapted to bird and animal pollination, its large waxy grey leaves help it survive in the dry climate.

The nuts and flowers are held very close to the branch

I am now questioning whether this plant seen here below, which I photographed a couple of years ago at Western Flora near Eneabba is actually the small-leaved mottlecah subsp elachantha..... when you look at the size of the leaves as compared to the plant above, photographed in Kings Park.  Both Eucalyptus Macrocarpa - but slightly different.
 I love the way they burst from their cups

 This one below here is the Rose Mallee - Eucalyptus rhodantha - which is declared threatened and rare flora and only found in the wild in a couple of places. So it was wonderful to be able to see them in Kings Park - just part of the amazing work the Park staff do.

I think the main distinguishing feature of the Rose Mallee, is the way the buds, flowers and nuts are held on a long pendulous stalk away from the branch, whereas the macrocarpa or mottlecah are held close to the branch.
Just to be even more confusing this one below here is Eucalyptus carnabyi which we also saw in Kings Park. Evidently it is known from only a few plants in the Calingiri and Dandaragan area, and recognised as a hybrid between Euc dummondii (Drummonds mallee) and Euc macrocarpa.

To be even more confusing Macrocarpa is also related to Euc pyriformis (pear-fruited mallee) and and Euc impensa (Eneabba mallee). But there are a lot of mallees......

I learnt a lot from our short visit to Kings Park and my further research after we returned home. I hope to visit Kings Park again during their Flower Festival in September when more than 25,000 plants and hundreds of wildflower varieties burst into bloom, heralding the start of spring in the South West of WA. As well as seeing many wildflowers there is a month of activities.  

As well as enjoying the wildflowers in Kings Park you can learn something about indigenous culture and foods

Along the Federation Walkway through the tree tops you can enjoy views of Perth. There are also children's playgrounds, cafes and parkland for picnics or for just sitting.

and you can take a moment of silent contemplation at our State War Memorial and Eternal Flame which is the site of our Anzac Day Dawn Service on 25th April every year.

We enjoyed our revisit to Kings Park, and I learnt a lot in the short time we were there. I hope to visit again in spring. 

For more information: KIngs Park Botanic Gardens
Wildflower Society of Western Australia 
Eddy Wajon's wildflower identification books 

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you and yours are doing ok. 
Do you have a favourite park? Perhaps you would like to tell us about it in your comments. I value your comments and look forward to hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return. Stay safe and enjoy your week ahead.

You might also like:
The wildflowers are blooming in the Kimberley, Western Australia
Hunting for wild orchids

I am linking up to the link-ups below. Please click on the links to see fabulous contributions from around the world - virtual touring at its best!

Hello there! I love reading your comments. If you scroll down to the bottom you can comment too! I would love to hear from you.


  1. Thanks Jill for your wonderful photos. The flowers remind me of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie! We had a lovely day at Kings Pakr many years ago and if it hadn't been for the virus we would be going again this year, but hopefully next year will see us on the road again. I do love your close up photos. Take care and stay safe in WA.

  2. Jill, sorry I can't help with the names of the eucalypts. I will ask my son as he is a horticulturalist here in SA.

  3. I wondered what this was. Cool!

  4. Jill - you are amazing. Such dedication to perfecting the identification of these eucalypts! I can understand your fascination - they are gorgeous, mesmerizing plants. The flowers remind me of sea anemones, and the fruits look like buttons on a little boy's jacket! Thanks so much for linking up (I have extended the time frame to Tuesdays) and enjoy your week ahead!


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog. Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to comment. I read and very much appreciate every comment and love hearing from you. I will try to visit your blogs in return.