Eucryphia is a small genus of trees or large shrubs of the Antarctic flora, native to the south temperate regions of South America and coastal eastern Australia. Traditionally placed in a family of their own, the Eucryphiaceae, more recent classifications place them in the Cunoniaceae. There are seven species, two in South America and five in Australia, and several named hybrids. They are mostly evergreen though one species (E. glutinosa) is usually deciduous.
The leaves are opposite, and either simple or pinnate with 3-13 leaflets. The flowers are produced in late summer or autumn, are showy and sweetly scented, 3-6 cm diameter, with four creamy-white petals, and numerous stamens and styles. The fruit is a woody capsule 1-1.5 cm long containing several seeds, and maturing in 12-15 months.
The generic name is derived from the Greek for "well hidden".
- Eucryphia cordifolia Cav. Valdivian temperate rain forests of southern Chile. A tree growing up to 40 m tall; leaves simple, crenate to serrated, evergreen, 3-7 cm long. Its wood is used for construction, furniture and lumber, and its nectar for honey.
- Eucryphia glutinosa (Poepp. & Endl.) Baill. Valdivian temperate rain forests of southern Chile and Argentina. A large shrub to 7 m tall; leaves pinnate, with 3-5 leaflets, serrated, deciduous or semi-evergreen, 3-6 cm long.
- Eucryphia jinksii Forster & Hyland. Queensland. A tree to 25 m tall; leaves simple or with 3 leaflets, entire, evergreen, 5-10 cm long. (discovered 1994 )
- Eucryphia lucida (Labill.) Baill. Tasmania. A tree to 20-30 m tall; leaves simple, entire, evergreen, 3-7 cm long. Common name is Tasmanian Leatherwood and is a major commercial source of monofloral honey.
- Eucryphia milliganii Hook. f. (syn. E. lucida var. milliganii). Tasmania. A tree to 6 m tall; leaves simple, entire, evergreen, 1.5-3 cm long.
- Eucryphia moorei F.v.Muell. New South Wales, Victoria. also known as Pinkwood or Plumwood, is a tree to 15 m tall; leaves pinnate, with 7-15 leaflets, entire, evergreen, 6-12 cm long.
- Eucryphia wilkiei Forster & Hyland. Queensland (discovered 1978).
Hybrids and cultivars
- E. × intermedia (E. glutinosa × E. lucida)
- E. × hillieri (E. moorei × E. lucida): Developed from a self-sown seedling at the nursery of Hillier & Sons, Chandlers ford in Hampshire around 1953.
- E. × nymansensis (E. cordifolia × E. glutinosa), also known as E. "Nymansay", originated from Nyman's Garden in Sussex, and won an Award of Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in London in 1925.
- E. 'Penwith' (E. cordifolia × E. lucida)
- E. × hybrida (E. glutinosa × E. lucida)
- E. falcata (Late Palaeocene, Lake Bungarby)
- E. microstoma (Early Eocene, Regatta Point)
- E. aberensis (Middle to Late Eocene, Loch Aber).
The species and their hybrids are attractive small trees for gardens
, typically with a slender conic crown when young, though widening with age. They are valued for their conspicuous scented flowers, produced in late summer and autumn when few or no other trees are in flower. Cultivation is restricted to areas with mild winters, cool summers and good rainfall; away from their native areas, this restricts them to the Atlantic
coastal regions of Europe
, the Pacific Northwest
of North America
, and New Zealand