Can You Identify These Australian Trees by Their Leaves?

By: Deborah Beckwin

Can You Identify These Australian Trees by Their Leaves?
Image: AlonzoDesign/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Australia is one of the most unique places in the world, with six different climate zones and numerous kinds of unique flora and fauna found on the island nation. 

From the arid desert to the sprawling grasslands, to the tropical northern and eastern regions to the southern temperate climes, Australia's climate diversity creates a home for over 275,000 species of flora, including 24,000 plant species.

For millions of years, Australia was untouched by humans until approximately 65,000 years ago, when the first Aboriginal peoples made their way to the island by sea. 

Since the colonization of Australia, which began in 1788, extensive logging of trees has been an ongoing issue for the country's various ecosystems, with native trees being threatened and endangered, including multiple species of acacia trees (locally known as wattles), woolly bush, banksia, emu bush and grevillea. Invasive trees imported to Australia have endangered native trees. Unsustainable logging has also threatened Australia's fauna, with animals on the brink of extinction. 

Because of Australia's varied climates, there are different types of trees--conifers, hardwoods and softwoods--but not many deciduous trees (trees which lose their leaves). But what the land Down Under lacks in autumnal glory, it makes up for with its flowering trees.

We hope you enjoy leafing through this quiz of Australia's trees!

Eucalyptus Probably the most famous tree in Australia, this hardwood is known to draw up a lot of water from the soil.
Eucalyptus
You may be surprised to learn that this flowering tree usually has evergreen leaves, meaning they never shed. There are over 700 species of eucalyptus, and most of Australia's forests are comprised of these trees.
Fig tree
Banksia
Jacaranda

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Bottlebrush The scientific name for this tree is Callistemon.
Jacaranda
Bottlebrush
The bottlebrush tree has over 50 species. You'll find them growing in the more temperate zones of Australia. And as you can imagine, it got its name for the bright flowers that resemble bottle brushes.
Boronia
Kangaroo paw

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Banksia This tree was named after the first European to collect samples in the late 1700s.
Lilly pilly
Kurrajong
Coachwood
Banksia
Named after naturalist and botanist Sir Joseph Banks, the Banksia can be either a bush or a tree. There are over 170 species of Banksia with varying flower colors.

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Golden wattle This tree has patriotic significance to Australia.
Golden wattle
The golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is Australia's national flower. The golden wattle's gold color is represented in Australia's national sporting colors of green and gold, a tradition started back with the national cricket team in the late 1800s.
Jacaranda
Sheoak
Boab

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Coachwood This tree, commonly found in the state of New South Wales, is also called scented satinwood.
Native frangipani
Mulga
Grey mangrove
Coachwood
Coachwood is not only a fragrant, flowering tree. The wood can be used for more decorative purposes, such as a veneer.

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Hill's weeping fig This tree was first commonly found in Queensland's rainforests.
Wilga
Hill's weeping fig
Hill's weeping fig (Ficus microcarpa var. hillii) has made its way from the northern state of Queensland to the more southeastern regions of New South Wales. This tree can be grown indoors, just like another common houseplant: ficus bejamina.
Woolly bush
River red gum

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Kurrajong This tree's name is also the name of a town in New South Wales, where this tree was plentiful.
Paperbark
Kurrajong
Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus) is another Australian tree that has multiple uses for humans. This tree is native to Australia but is now planted in other places such as the United States and South Africa.
Grevillea
Cypress-pine

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Wilga You'll find this native Australian tree primarily on the eastern side of the continent, with its long, droopy leaves.
Jacaranda
River red gum
Wilga
The wilga tree (Geijera parviflora) has some great uses including as a nutritious animal feed for livestock. It also can produce a flavorful honey, and burning its leaves can repel mosquitoes.
Blueberry ash

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Grey mangrove If this tree encounters water with too much salt, it can excrete the salt through its leaves.
Boab
Emu bush
Grass tree
Grey mangrove
Grey mangrove (Avicennia marina), also known as white mangrove, can be best found where freshwater and saltwater mix. It also has a special root system above the waterline that absorbs oxygen for the tree.

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Cabbage palm You can eat the heart of this tree, but removing its heart will kill it.
Cabbage palm
The heart of a palm tree (known as heart of palm) is its unopened bud. The cabbage palm's heart has been known to taste like cabbage, thus its nickname. Known scientifically as Livistona australis, the cabbage-palm tree's white flowers have also been said to look like cabbages.
Mulga
Blueberry ash
River red gum

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Grass tree This unique tree is native to Australia, and in some species, it can flower more after a bushfire.
Grass tree
The grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) has over 66 different species, all native to Australia. It's a tree that is seen to be emblematic of the Australian bush, and is special to both indigenous and nonindigenous Australians.
Paperbark
Grevillea
Smooth-barked apple

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Smooth-barked apple Which tree has pink and gray bark and big white flowers?
Kangaroo paw
Bangalow palm
Wollemi pine
Smooth-barked apple
The smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata), is an evergreen tree that can grow quite tall--as high as 82 feet. The pinkish-orange bark is a sign of new bark, while the gray bark is old bark that will eventually shed in the springtime.

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River red gum This iconic species of eucalyptus can be found all over Australia.
Woolly bush
Grevillea
Queensland tree waratah
River red gum
Because of its deep root systems, eucalyptus camaldulensis can be found in arid regions, but is primarily found in wetlands next to rivers and streams. These massive trees can live from 500 to 1000 years.

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Blueberry ash When this tree starts to age, the leaves turn red.
Summer red
Blueberry ash
Blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) has many decorative qualities besides its red leaves. It's called the blueberry ash because of the blue berries which many birds are drawn to eat. This tree is also called fairy petticoats because of its white, bell-shaped, fringed flowers.
Mulga
Illawarra flame tree

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Red flowering gum This type of tree was seen as a type of eucalyptus until the mid-1990s.
Mulga
Red flowering gum
The red flowering gum tree (Corymbia ficifolia) has a very limited area where it grows naturally, primarily in the southern parts of the Western Territory. Now it's more widely cultivated and can be found as far east as Sydney.
Native frangipani
Bangalow palm

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Queensland tree waratah This flowering tree is primarily found in the rainforests of Queensland.
Grevillea
Queensland tree waratah
The Queensland tree waratah (Alloxylon flammeum) has been affected by extensive logging and clearing in its natural habitat. Although it can be cultivated, it is listed as vulnerable according to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).
Paperbark
Lilly pilly

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Mulga This tree can be found in the drier regions of Australia, except in Victoria and Tasmania.
Camphor laurel
Wallangarra wattle
Mulga
Unlike most acacias, the mulga (Acacia aneura) also known as mulga wattle, can live for 50 years or more. Due to how it channels water to its main root, mulgas can outlast droughts. This is why in more arid regions, you can see nothing but mulgas.
Red ash

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Red ash This tree's young leaves give off a smell of sarsaparilla when crushed or bruised.
Emu bush
Red ash
Red ash (Alphitonia excelsa) goes by other names, such as soap tree, leatherjacket and Coopers wood. You'll find this tree growing on the northern and eastern coasts of Australia.
Sheoak
Queensland bottle tree

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Scribbly gum This tree gets its name from what moth larvae do to its bark.
Scribbly gum
The scribbly gum (typically Eucalyptus haemastoma, Eucalyptus racemosa and Eucalyptus sclerophylla) has its distinctive markings made by scribbly moth larvae tunneling their way through the tree. The tree co-exists with these larvae without being harmed.
Sheoak
Jacaranda
Lilly pilly

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Boab This tree is famously known for its wide, wrinkly trunk and is found mostly in the northern regions of Australia.
Boab
The boab (Adansonia gregorii) is one of the few deciduous trees in Australia. During the dry season is when its leaves are shed.
Wollemi pine
Paperbark
Native frangipani

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Sheoak This tree looks like a pine tree because of its cone-like fruit.
Lilly pilly
Cypress-pine
Sheoak
Sheoak (Casuarina) is not a pine tree, although it is an evergreen tree. Indigenous Australians have used the wood for boomerangs, clubs and shields. In the past, the wood has also been used for fencing and shingles, and now it's used for cabinetry and detailed floorwork.
Red flowering gum

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Moreton Bay fig Found mainly in Queensland and New South Wales, these trees can grow to be 164 feet tall and 115 feet wide.
Red flowering gum
Emu bush
Moreton Bay fig
The Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla) is also known as the Australian banyan. Because of its massive size and extensive root system, you'll see this tree in spacious parks as well as in the rainforests of Queensland.
Wilga

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Sandpaper fig What tree has leaves which are known to be rough to the touch?
Jacaranda
Grey mongrove
Sandpaper fig
The sandpaper fig (Ficus coronata) has multiple uses. The leaves are rough enough to be used as a finishing tool for wood and also have medicinal uses. The fruit of the tree is also edible for humans.
Lilly pilly

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Camphor laurel What tree is considered to be an invasive plant and replaces native trees that koalas prefer to eat?
Athel pine
Captain Cook tree
Honey locust
Camphor laurel
Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) came to Australia in the early 1820s as a garden ornamental plant. It replaces native trees such as the species of blue gum tree (Eucalyptus globulus), which is what koalas prefer to eat.

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Native frangipani What tree has a name that's more of a misnomer?
Emu bush
Bottlebrush
Boronia
Native frangipani
Native frangipani (Hymenosporum flavum) is actually not related to frangipani (Plumeria). You can typically find this tree in the rainforests of Queensland and New South Wales, but it can also be cultivated and can be seen in urban and suburban spaces.

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Lilly pilly What tree provides edible fruit that humans can eat?
Lilly pilly
Lilly pilly (Syzygium) has many different species, some which bear fruit called riberries (or sometimes called lillipillies). Syzygium smithii is typically the species most commonly associated with lilly pilly.
Jacaranda
Red flowering gum
Grevillea

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Wollemi pine What tree species is known to only have less than 100 mature trees left and was thought to be extinct millions of years ago?
Desert fig
Banksia
Grass tree
Wollemi pine
The Wollemi pine (Wollemia nobilis) was discovered in 1994. Beforehand, it was only known via fossils. This tree is now on the critically endangered list.

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Paperbark What tree's leaves are used to create a popular essential oil?
Cypress-pine
Jacaranda
Paperbark
Paperbarks (Melaleuca) are also known as tea trees. Melaleuca alternifolia is the species from which tea tree oil is derived.
White fig

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Cypress-pine Two out of three species of this coniferous tree are native to Australia.
Cypress-pine
The cypress-pine in Australia has two genuses: Callitris and Actinostrobus. You'll find both of these mainly in Western Australia.
Emu bush
Kangaroo paw
Queensland bottle tree

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Firewheel tree What tree from the Australian rainforest puts on a stunning show in autumn when its leaves turn colors?
Illawarra flame tree
Firewheel tree
The firewheel tree (Stenocarpus sinuatus) not only has colorful leaves in the autumn. In the summer through the autumn, bright orange and red flowers come into bloom. You'll see this tree mostly in New South Wales and in Queensland.
Red flowering gum
Sheoak

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Illawarra flame tree This tree has a reputation of blooming infrequently.
Illawarra flame tree
Known for its fiery red blooms, the Illawarra flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) is also a deciduous tree. If a tree is in a wetter climate during the winter, then the blooming cycle will become more erratic, i.e., the whole tree may not bloom or the blooming occurs later in the summer vs. late spring.
Brush box
Queensland bottle tree
Lacebark tree

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Jacaranda This tree and its purple blooms bring people from around the world to Australia during the springtime.
Dwarf apple
Brush box
Jacaranda
Jacaranda is also the genus name of the tree, meaning fragrant. From Sydney to Brisbane, you can see jacarandas bloom during October and November.
Woolly bush

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Lacebark The Latin name for this tree describes the two-tone coloring of the leaves (dark on the top, light on the bottom).
Lacebark
Lacebark (Brachychiton discolor) gets its name from the texture and coloring of the tree's bark. As the tree ages, the bark changes from a green to a gray color.
Grevillea
Bottlebrush
Hill's weeping fig

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Queensland bottle tree This tree looks similar to a boab.
Red flowering gum
Wilga
Queensland bottle tree
The Queensland bottle tree (Brachychiton rupestris) comes from the same family as the boab tree, but does not grow as high. Indigenous Australians found this tree to be quite useful (e.g., creating twine, rope, and fishing nets from the inner bark).
Native frangipani

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Brush box You can find this tough, resilient tree lining city streets across Australia.
Kangaroo paw
Brush box
The brush box (Lophostemon confertus) goes by many other names, including Queensland brush box, pink box and vinegartree. This tree can withstand air pollution, disease and pests and is relatively easy to maintain.
Boronia
Grevillea

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Silky oak This tree can be grown as a houseplant but can grow up to 100 feet tall in the wild.
Mulga
Paperbark
Silky oak
Silky oak (Grevillea robusta) is one of the few species of Grevillea that can grow into a tree--and it the largest. Its uniquely shaped flowers are why it's nicknamed the "toothbrush plant."
Boronia

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Macadamia This tree is native to Queensland and New South Wales and its fruit contains a popular nut.
Macadamia
The macadamia tree has four different species and was the first cash crop for Australia by non-indigenous Australians. But although it is a major crop for Australia, it is considered to be vulnerable and is protected under conservation law.
Almond
Orange
Pistachio

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Desert Oaks This tough tree can withstand both frost and fire.
Gebang palm
Staghorn fern
Desert oak
The thick bark of the desert oak (Allocasuarina decaisneana) is what makes this tree so tough, protecting it from fires. It can withstand drought due to its taproot that grows deep underground.
Lemon tree

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Burdekin plum This fruit tree, related to the mango, can be mainly found in the tropical parts of Queensland.
Shrubby glasswort
Little mountain palm
Dwarf apple
Burdekin plum
The Burdekin plum (Pleiogynium timorense) is also known as the tulip plum. The fruit itself has indentations all around it which resemble the pit inside.

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Willow myrtle Most commonly found near Perth, Western Australia, this tree's leaves give a fragrant scent when crushed.
Willow myrtle
Willow myrtle (Agonis flexuosa) goes by a few different names including Western Australian peppermint, weeping peppermint, and peppermint. When its leaves are crushed, a minty fragrance is released. But this isn't to be confused with the hybrid plant peppermint--the willow myrtle just smells like it.
Watkins fig
Birds nest fern
Common aotus

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