Eucalyptus urophylla

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E. urophylla, 6 year old provenance trial, San Carlos, Costa Rica.
© David Boshier

Local names:
English (Timor white gum,Timor mountain gum), Indonesian (popo,ampupu), Portuguese (palavao preto), Vietnamese (b[aj]ch d[af]n d[or])

Eucalyptus urophylla is an evergreen tree up to 45 m tall, or, in unfavourable conditions, a shrub; bole straight, branchless for up to 30 m, up to 2 m in diameter; bark variable depending on moisture and altitude, usually persistent and subfibrous, smooth to shallow, close longitudinal fissures, red-brown to brown; sometimes rough, especially at the base of the trunk.

Juvenile leaves subopposite, stalked, broadly lanceolate; adult leaves phyllodinous, subopposite to alternate, long stalked, broadly lanceolate, 10-15 x 5-8 cm, discolourous; lateral veins just visible.

Inflorescence an axillary, simple umbelliform, condensed and reduced dichasium called a conflorescens; umbels solitary, with 5-8 flowers; peduncle somewhat flattened, 8-22 mm long.

Seed small, 4-6, angular to more or less semi-circular, black.

The genus Eucalyptus was described and named in 1788 by the French botanist l’Héritier. The flowers of the various Eucalyptus species are protected by an operculum, hence the generic name, which comes from the Greek words ‘eu’ (well), and ‘calyptos’ (covered). The specific epithet comes from the Greek uro- (with an elongated or tail-like appendage), and phylla (leaves).


E. urophylla frequently occurs as the dominant species in open, often secondary montane forests. It grows on mountain slopes and in valleys and is commonly found on basalt, schists and slates, but rarely on limestone.

Native range

Tree management

Spacing varies with purpose of the plantation. For pulpwood, 3 x 2 m is commonly used, and for fuelwood or poles spacing may be closer. It is essential to keep the field free of weeds until the trees are 6 months old. Thinning is done every 2 years from the age of 3 years onwards. E. urophylla has good coppicing ability and can be expected to produce at least 3 coppice rotations after the initial seedling rotation.

On average there are 210 000-470 000 viable seeds/kg.

E. urophylla frequently occurs as the dominant species in open, often secondary montane forests. It grows on mountain slopes and in valleys and is commonly found on basalt, schists and slates, but rarely on limestone.

Artificial propagation is generally by sowing untreated seeds in germination beds. Seedlings have epigeal germination. Rooted cuttings derived from stump sprouts are also used in raising E. urophylla. After coppicing, when the new sprouts are 60-80 cm long they are removed and divided into cuttings with 2 pairs of leaves. In Indonesia, tissue culture has proved successful on an experimental scale.

E. urophylla is increasingly being used in reforestation programmes.

E. urophylla makes satisfactory fuelwood and charcoal.

Fibre:  E. urophylla is particularly suitable as a source of mid-density to low-density eucalypt fibre for pulp and paper production. 

Timber:  E. urophylla is an important source of heavy timber. In Timor, the wood is used in heavy construction, bridging, flooring and framing. The round wood is used for building poles and fence posts.

Tannin or dyestuff:  The bark has a tannin content of over 10%, but it is not used commercially.

Essential oil:  The leaves yield a pale yellow oil. The major components of the oil are paecymene (76%), alpha-pinene (7%) and gamma terpenene (4%). The essential oil is a good source of paracymene, which possesses disinfectant properties and is utilized