Nature conservation

Threatened species

Mongarlowe Mallee - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Eucalyptus recurva
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
Gazetted date: 31 Jul 2009
Profile last updated: 14 Jul 2020


The Mongarlowe Mallee is a many-stemmed shrub (mallee) that grows to 4.5 m tall. Its bark is smooth and mottled grey and orange-brown, shedding in short ribbons. The glossy-green leaves are arranged in pairs that are arranged at right angles to the adjoining leaf pair (leaves are opposite and decussate). The leaves are  up to 3 cm long and 8 mm wide. The white flowers are arranged in clusters of three, on a common stalk to 5.5 mm long. Each cluster arises from the axil of a leaf, and several clusters are produced towards the ends of the branchlets. The main distinguishing character of this species - from which its name is drawn - is its conspicuously recurved leaf tips. These are very rare in eucalypts, and are much more developed in Mongarlowe Mallee than in any of its close relatives.


The Mongarlowe Mallee is confined to the NSW Southern Tablelands where it is known from only four locations. Three of these occur near Mongarlowe (with at least a two km separation between the sites) and the third is about 30 km away near Windellama. Three of these sites support only single plants, whilst the other has three individuals present - the total known population of this species is thus only six individuals. Genetic analysis by CSIRO has confirmed that each mallee clump is comprised of a single individual (genotype). It is likely that these individuals represent a relict of a more widespread ancestor, and it is unlikely that many more individuals of the species remain undiscovered.

Habitat and ecology

  • Found in shallow soils on gentle slopes in low heathland and in some cases at the margins of the heathland and adjacent low woodland; the woodlands are dominated by Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) and Snow Gum (E. pauciflora), but scattered Candlebark (E. rubida) and Broad-leafed Peppermint (E. dives) trees are also nearby at some sites; in the Mongarlowe area the heathland is dominated by Stunted She-oak (Allocasuarina nana), with emergent shrubs of Finger Hakea (Hakea dactyloides).
  • Flowering occurs in January, but very few seeds are set so the chances of recruitment of new individuals in the field is low. Seed germinated from naturally set seed has mostly produced hybrids, showing that there is a low level of cross pollination occurring with a few other locally occurring eucalypt species. The very few seedlings that have germinated from naturally set seed that appear to have been pure Mongarlowe Mallee plants have lacked vigour and ultimately died. This is not uncommon in eucalypts where self -pollination has occurred.
  • Efforts by CSIRO to cross-pollinate the two plants near Mongarlowe to produce viable seed and to propagate the species using grafting and tissue culture techniques in 1992 were unsuccessful. Subsequent hand cross-pollination (using a mofified method) of four of the individuals by DPIE staff in 2001 and 2002 were successful in producing significant quantities of viable seed. The habd pollinated branches were not bagged at that time and so only about half the seed that was sown produced what appeared to be pure Mongarlowe Mallee plants whilst about half were clearly hybrids. This work demonstrated that the species is not inherintly sterile and has the capacity to be propagated using this method.
  • The size and spread of the lignotubers (woody underground structures) suggests that some of the plants are of considerable age, probably several hundred years.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
South Eastern HighlandsBungonia Known East of Shoalhaven River