A tree to 120 ft high, sometimes taller; bark becoming rough and persistent near the base of the trunk but shed in long ribbons on the upper part and yellowish or white when first exposed; young stems dark red and warted. Juvenile leaves opposite, ovate to lanceolate, 2 to 4 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, tapered at the apex, sessile and sometimes stem-clasping at the base; dark green, often with a crimson midrib. Adult leaves alternate, lanceolate or sickle-shaped, 4 to 7 in. long and up to 1 in. wide. Umbels three-flowered; buds more or less sessile, ovoid to cylindrical. Fruit globular to top-shaped; disk prominent; valves exserted.
Native of Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, from sea-level to about 4,500 ft; introduced before 1885. It is tender, and of the many trees planted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century most succumbed to frost. Notable exceptions are the three specimens at Mount Usher, Co. Wicklow, Eire, probably planted in 1904 and measuring 105 × 91⁄2, 105 × 133⁄4 and 95 × 12 ft (1966). There is also a smaller specimen in the garden, pl. 1945, which is already 72 × 41⁄2 ft (1966). There are other examples at Kilmacurragh in the same county and at Fota and on Garinish Island, Co. Cork.
In its adult foliage, flowers and fruit, E. viminalis bears a close resemblance to E. dalrympleana, but is perfectly distinct in its tapered, dark green juvenile foliage and also differs in its bark, which peels in long, narrow strips, whereas in E. dalrympleana it is shed in irregular flakes. Also, in the wild it exudes a sugary secretion from the bark and is for that reason sometimes known as the manna gum. However, the similarity between the two species is so great that seed of “E. dalrympleana” received from Australia often produces E. viminalis, or a mixture of the two. This has been Mr Barnard’s experience; and the plot of E. viminalis at Crarae was raised from seed of “E. dalrympleana” (Journ. R.H.S., Vol. 88, p. 333).