Forest Friday is looking at the Water Gum – Tristaniopsis laurina.

“Knowledge is good, understanding is better”

This is a chance for us to explore the different trees we use in our permaculture designs. There is so much to understand about a tree before placing it in a system, and by giving a tree what it needs to thrive, the whole system can benefit from the many design and ecologic functions they provide. Savour Soil uses the Water Gum – Tristaniopsis laurina as a feature tree in challenging soil types with its full display of flowers and ability to thrive in poor soil, but there is so much more to this tree.


  • Subtropical, temperate, Mediterranean Climates
  • Native Region is SE QLD northern NSW
  • Habitat is Rainforest openings and creek banks
  • Propagated by seed
  • Highly susceptible to displacement by exotics like privet
Needs, Tolerances + Susceptibilities:

  • Like moderate rainfall
  • Well drained soil but moist
  • Full sun but will tolerate some shade
  • Light frost is tolerated
  • Pollinated by bees and insects
  • Will grow in most soil types, even poor.
  • Diseases it can be effected by include scale
  • Can be damaged by Leaf hoppers and leaf eating beetles
Charactoristics + Behaviours:

  • Compact small tree
  • Trunk bends to direction of water current
  • Multi branched trunk.
  • Can be pruned to 1.
  • Can grow between 1-15m by 3-6m
  • Fast growing.
  • Evergreen – older leaves turn red and shed
Design Function:

  • Great Screen/windbreak: Excellent native replacement of Photinia hedge
  • Compact shade tree
  • Feature tree – native replacement of magnolia
  • Street tree in Sydney Flowers in Jan and Feb. when others aren’t

  • Animal food: pollen
  • Spring flowers August – November
  • Tough and light timber- good for tool handles and golf clubs
Ecological Function:

  • Soil stabliser and erosion control along water courses
  • Pest suppression
  • Wildlife habitat/food for birds/ native bees and honey bees.
  • Foliage is browsed by possums

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