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The Eucalyptus socialis is a type of Mallee tree. The socialis can be further split in to four subspecies that span across the dry regions of South and Western Australia. In this article, I’ll be focusing on the Eucalyptus socialis subsp. socialis.
Botanical Name – Eucalyptus socialis
Pronunciation – Yoo-kuh-lip-tus | so-shi-ah-lis
Name Meaning – Eucalyptus comes from the Greek words ‘Eu’ meaning well and ‘Kalyptos’ meaning covered. This name is referencing the caps that cover the flowers of many Eucalypt species. Note, these caps fall off when the tree flowers.
Socialis is the Latin name for friendly. This name is in reference to this species being associated with other species.
Common Name – Red Mallee
Family – Myrtaceae
Subspecies – There are four accepted subspecies of the socialis, as identified by Dean Nicolle. The subspecies are:
Origin – Endemic to the drier regions of South Australia. In this particular section of SA, the socialis grows on sandy to red loamy sites. This loam tends to sit over limestone.
Uses – Traditionally, the Aborigine Australians used this tree to make a variety of things, including:
- Bowls from the leaves
- Medicine from the leaves
- Shield from the bark
- Spears from the bark
Not only that, but the Aborigine people could get water through the tree’s roots.
In modern times, people plant this tree for:
- Honey production
- The making of biomass
- Reducing salinity in soil
Planting Tips – The socialis will grow well in hot, dry climates. So, USDA hardiness zone 8-11. This tree is salt and drought tolerant and is known for its ability to grow in poor soils. If you have trouble growing anything, try planting this tree. The socialis is hardy and tolerates most conditions.
Pests and Diseases – Generally problem free.
Height – 8 – 39 ft.
Growth Rate – Slow.
Crown – 16 ft wide approximately with moderate density.
Bark – Multi-stemmed trunk with a lignotuber. The bark is pale grey on the lower stems. Going up the tree, the barks gets smooth and stringy while turning to a tan color.
Leaf Type – Evergreen.
Leaf Description – Leaves are a dull green color. The leaves are a lanceolate shape with a slight gloss to them. As for size, the leaves on the socialis are 2 – 5 inches long and around half an inch wide.
Fruit – Fruit is small and barrel-shaped.
Flower – Flowers are creamy white.