Herb: Messmate

Latin name: Eucalyptus obliqua

Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtle Family)

Description of the plant:


60 m
(197 feet)

Habitat of Messmate:

Forests in mountains in areas with winter frosts, often forming pure stands.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - hard, straight grained, easily worked. Highly valued in Australia, it is used for joinery, furniture, construction and pulp.

Propagation of Messmate:

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 the herb:

Forests in mountains in areas with winter frosts, often forming pure stands.

Medicinal use of Messmate:

None known

Known hazards of Eucalyptus obliqua:

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.