Tasmanian Leatherwood


Eucryphia lucida, or Tasmanian Leatherwood, is a medium-sized tree with a compact crown of glossy green leaves. In addition to the standard variety ‘White Flowers’, there are currently four cultivars of Eucryphia lucida: ‘Pink Cloud’, a pale to medium pink flowered variety; ‘Ballerina’, a pale pink floral variety with deep pink stamens; ‘Leatherwood Cream’, a variegated leaf variety and ‘Leatherwood Silver’, a variety with silver-edged leaves. This cool temperate rainforest tree produces masses of white, showy flowers with a honey scent. It is an endemic Tasmanian cool-temperate rainforest tree that occurs in mossy forests in the wetter areas of Tasmania’s western side. It co-occurs with Myrtle Beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii), Southern Sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) and Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon).

E. lucida is commonly a tree of 10-15 m but can reach heights of 30 m in its natural habitat. It has dark green to grey-brown, smooth bark, often covered with lichens. The leaves are simple, opposite, oblong, about 2-4 cm long, dark green above and white below; the new leaves are glossy. E. lucida flowers are rose-like with four white petals and numerous showy stamens. The sepals are joined at the apex to form an operculum when the flower is budding, and this operculum is shed as the petals expand. The fruits are small, leathery capsules that, when ripe, release many coppery-winged seeds about 12 months after flowering.

E. lucida can grow in semi-shade or full sun but prefers a sheltered position from the wind. It is also very frost tolerant. E. lucida does best in well-drained, acid and neutral soils of low to intermediate fertility. Leatherwood makes an excellent tub plant and can be pruned to keep it compact. When established, E. lucida should require less water and can be pruned after each flowering season to keep it as a compact, bushy shrub that will produce more flowers in the next flowering season.


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