Herb: Water Mallee

Latin name: Eucalyptus dumosa

Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family)

Edible parts of Water Mallee:

A sweet manna-like substance is produced upon the leaves of the tree, it is made into a delicious drink. One report says that it is the secretion of an insect, and thus is unlikely to be produced in Britain. The bark of young roots is baked and eaten. It is said to be rather sweet, resembling malt in flavour.

Description of the plant:


7 m
(23 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Desert areas.

Other uses of Water Mallee:

The leaves contain over 1% essential oil. This oil has a strong scent of camphor and is more pure than the oil of most other Eucalyptus species. The wood is too small to be used commercially. However, it is used as a fuel.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - surface sow February/March in a sunny position in a greenhouse. Species that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold stratification at 2C. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as the second set of seed leaves has developed, if left longer than this they might not move well. Plant out into their permanent positions in early summer and give them some protection from the cold in their first winter. The seed can also be sown in June, the young trees being planted in their final positions in late spring of the following year. The seed has a long viability.

Cultivation of Water Mallee:

Desert areas.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Eucalyptus dumosa:

Citronellal, an essential oil found in most Eucalyptus species is reported to be mutagenic when used in isolation. In large doses, oil of eucalyptus, like so many essential oils has caused fatalities from intestinal irritation. Death is reported from ingestion of 4 - 24 ml of essential oils, but recoveries are also reported for the same amount. Symptoms include gastroenteric burning and irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, oxygen deficiency, ,weakness, dizziness, stupor, difficult respiration, delirium, paralysis, convulsions, and death, usually due to respiratory failure.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.