A very large genus of some 500 species of trees and shrubs that come mainly from Australia. They are grown in gardens for their handsome foliage and bark.
The leaves are evergreen, very leathery, and have a blue/grey coloration. They are generally oval- or lance-shaped, but in some species the leaves are round when young. This form is much valued by flower arrangers and can be induced by pollarding the trees. In many species the foliage is aromatic.
The flowers are petal-less and are simply composed of bunches of long stamens, usually white or cream, but also red. These would be inconspicuous except that they are usually born in large quantities and the trees positively hum with bees when they are in bloom. The flowers are followed by small, very hard, cylindrical seed capsules, which can be used in dried decorations.
The bark is often silvery grey, but frequently peels revealing a warm pinkish bronze beneath the grey. These are quick-growing trees and frequently grow very tall and are only suitable for small gardens if they are kept rigorously pollarded. Plant in free-draining soils in a sunny position.