Broad-leaved Peppermint

Description

Common names

Broad-leaved Peppermint, Blue Peppermint, Broad-leaf Peppermint, Peppermint.

Scientific names

Eucalyptus dives.

Family

Myrtaceae.

Genus

Eucalyptus.

Name origin

Dives, Latin for rich or plentiful, referring to oil in leaves.

Rainfall

600mm.

Growth rate

Fast.

Growth height

Up to 20m.

Presence in Australia

Widespread in higher rainfall catchments predominantly east of the Hume Highway.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: NSW, ACT, Vic.

Habitat

Dry sclerophyll woodland on poor shallow stony soils, on rises.

Habit

Tree to 20m high, with shortly fibrous bark shedding in ribbons above. Glossy green adult leaves.

Similar species

Sometimes similar to Red Stringybark (E. macrorhyncha), but distinguished by its smaller fruit and distinct juvenile foliage.

Site preference

Well-drained, relatively poor soils on gentle slopes and ridges. Tolerates moderate frost, extended dry periods and wind.

Characteristics

Fast-growing.

Flowering

White-cream, mainly Nov-Dec.

Seed collection

Throughout year, particularly Nov-Dec.

Propagation

From seed (±750 seeds per gram). Optimum germination temperature is 150C. Seed stratification for 4 weeks, although not essential, enhances germination. Seedlings may not survive in sterile potting mix. Adding local soil or leaf litter to mix should overcome problems.

Regeneration

From seed, particularly in absence of exotic grasses and weeds, and during wet summers. Coppices vigorously from waist-high stumps.

Shade and shelter

Useful medium-level cover in windbreaks. Useful shade due to large crown and low branches. For tree health and regeneration, fencing to exclude livestock recommended.

Timber

Moderately hard and strong, but not durable. Subject to numerous gum veins. Generally not used.

Wildlife

Valuable habitat. Flowers are a food source for nectar-feeding birds, mammals and insects. Insect-eating birds attracted. Seeds and fruits food for native birds. Hollows are nesting and refuge sites for a range of birds and mammals.

Koori

People with fever exposed to smoke from burning leaves to bring relief. Heat was thought to go from suffering person into fire.

Ornamental

Attractive specimen for gardens.

Other

Can be grown and coppiced for foliage useful for cut foliage market, and for distilling for cineole and piperitone oils. Oils used in mineral flotation or as solvents. Piperitone oils used in menthol (liniments and mouth washes) and thymol, a fungicide. Can be continuously cut for years, suckering vigorously. Leaves produce yellow dye with alum as mordant.