Mallee Trees

In recent posts I have mentioned the word “mallee”. This is a particularly Australian word derived from the Aboriginal people of Australia. It specifically relates to a group of eucalypt tree species collectively known as “mallee trees.”

Mallee Scrub, Murray Bridge

Mallee Scrub, Murray Bridge

“The Mallee”

Some areas of Australia are referred colloquially as “The Mallee“. These are areas where the mallee tree is the dominant species. The area where we live in Murray Bridge South Australia and areas to the east of here to the Victorian border are often referred to as the “Murray Mallee” because here the Murray River flows through the region where mallee trees are common. We have many mallee trees in our garden and the Murray River is but 5km from here.
Mallee birds

There are many bird and animal species whose preferred habitat is the mallee and its associations. Some species even have the word “mallee” as a part of their name eg Mallee Ringneck Parrot, Mallee Emu Wren and the Malleefowl.

For more information about the word mallee check out the Wikipedia entry here.

UPDATE October 2006: since writing this article I have added the photos that now appear on this page. Both were taken on our property and show typical mallee trees.

UPDATE March 2010: Further photos have been added below.


Mallee Scrub, Murray Bridge

Mallee Scrub, Murray Bridge

The following photos were taken elsewhere and show typical examples of mallee trees.

Mallee trees in Lowan Conservation Park, South Australia

Mallee trees in Lowan Conservation Park, South Australia

Mallee trees in Lowan Conservation Park, South Australia

Mallee trees in Lowan Conservation Park, South Australia

Murray-Sunset National Park, NW Victoria

Murray-Sunset National Park, NW Victoria


13 Responses to “Mallee Trees”

  1. […] Mallee trees – for more information about mallee trees read this article. Friday August 17th, 2007 | Categories: Parrots and Lorikeets » Leave a comment   […]

  2. […] dense scrublands and are usually found in arid or semi-arid parts of Australia. They are usually multi-trunked trees growing from a single underground stump called a […]

  3. Juliette Haddy says:

    I learnt some information about Mallee trees from a story run on 6PR here in Perth just yesterday, 31 March 2011 by Bob Maumille. It engaged me very quickly as developers are clearing so much land in and around Perth for housing and it is so distressing that very little thought seems to be put towards balancing housing and environment. We are in such a drought at the moment in Perth, I hope that we can somehow stir more interest in planting trees such as the mallee, rather than cutting them down!

  4. Trevor says:

    Thanks Juliette,

    I love the mallee areas of Australia. I grew up on a farm in the Murray Mallee areas of South Australia (near Loxton). When I had the chance to buy a patch of mallee for myself as shown in some of the photos above, I jumped at the chance. We’ve now been here for 26 years and love the bird life. Much of the mallee in SA has been cleared for farming – like my father’s farm – but we still have huge areas left, thankfully.

  5. Ken Faull says:

    My Irish friend comented re his grandson “yer like a mallee bull”– Certainly not an Irish expression– Isaid it originates from the Mallee scrub areas of Aus.I thought that area was the gippsland of Victoria where tha Mallee scrub grew thickly, A multi trunked growth of eucalypt trees creating a forest over a very large area where wild cattle roamed.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for visitant my site and for leaving comments. The more common expressions here in SA is that a person is “as strong as a mallee bull” or “as fit as a mallee bull.” Self explanatory I guess. It usually refers to someone who takes on tough jobs without a thought and is capable of strong physical action.

  6. Ken Faull says:

    Reading the comments here it seems S. A.( not Vic.) is the prominent area of Mallee.–My ignorance is showing–But I’m from NSW & any info., I think I have, is from hearsay only. Would like to KNOW more if you who DO know would care to comment,I’d be interested yo hear from you.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi again Ken,

      An easy mistake to make, Ken, unless you’ve travelled extensively in the areas of mallee stronghold. There is no mallee scrub in the Gippsland area. There are still large areas of remnant mallee in NW Victoria – north of a line from Horsham to Echuca roughly, though there are some remnant uncleared patches on the outskirts of Bendigo. It usually indicates a drop in rainfall combined with poorer soil (often limestone country rather than granite).

      NSW still has large areas of mallee north of the Murray River in the SW of the state, as well as huge areas in central NSW – north of Lake Cargelligo. (Excellent birding area too.)

      SA still has extensive mallee areas. I’ve lived most of my life in the Murray Mallee – the Murray River flows through the region hence its name. There are many remnant scrubs in the mid north, east of the Flinders Ranges, all of Yorke Peninsula, all of Eyre Peninsula and throughout NW of the state except the Nullarbor Plain (hence its name).

      Much of southern WA is or once was covered in mallee too, and it stretches north of Kalgoorlie and right up towards Geraldton and beyond.

      For more information, and to see a detailed map of the distribution of mallee, go to this web site and scroll down a few pages:

  7. […] the last few weeks the Rainbow Bee-eaters have be flying around our garden and mallee scrub. During the winter months they head north to warmer parts of the country, and every spring they […]

  8. […] Beautiful mallee vegetation in Murray-Sunset National Park. Original photo by Trevor Hampel. […]

  9. […] numbers anywhere. When two decided to take up residence in our garden and its adjacent patch of mallee scrub we were delighted. They often called several times a day and sometimes even came close to where we […]

  10. […] boasts a rich range of native birds and animal species. Most of the national park is covered in mallee trees. Also present in large numbers are smaller shrubby plants and even a range of beautiful native […]

  11. […] there is plenty of food for them, as well as plenty of nesting sites. There is quite an extensive mallee scrub a few hundred metres just to the west of […]

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