Adelaide has around 3,000 species of native and exotic trees around the city and suburbs. Here’s 10 of the most common ones that you’ll likely spot.

London Plane tree

The humble tree offers a range of benefits from providing food and shelter for native species, shade for Adelaidians when getting out into nature, and greening our streets and suburbs. Though not all native - what are some of the most common trees you'll see?

Let’s get to know 10 trees around metropolitan Adelaide:

Grey box tree, Eucalyptus microcarpa, photo: Peter Watton

1. Eucalyptus trees

These towering natives, known as gums, are incredibly resilient.

A fire-adapted tree, they sprout back after being burned and have now been introduced to locations around the globe. They are fast becoming one of the most cultivated trees in the world because they are fast growing and have valuable timber.

You’ll see eucalyptus trees all over Adelaide, but especially in the eastern suburbs around the foothills.

Bottlebrush trees have a weeping tendency, photo: Mokkie, Wikimedia Commons

2. Bottlebrush trees

Bottlebrush trees (Callistemon) are extremely hardy, growing in a wide range of soils.

You will recognise them by their distinctive flower heads – commonly red, but also can be white, pink, or yellow and attract a range of birds, bees and butterflies. The tree has a weeping tendency (drooped branches) which makes it a great screening plant.

You can see bottlebrush trees in the western suburbs, especially around Seaton.

Ornamental pear trees on Leigh Street (Pyrus calleryana)

3. Ornamental pear trees

You’ll know these exotic trees from their fiery red and bronze leaves that emerge in autumn, followed by striking white blossoms in spring.

Ornamental pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) have narrow growth of between 2–3metres from slender trunks . Their straight and tight growth provides a perfect privacy screen and is why they are often planted in rows lining properties.

These trees are often seen along streets, parks or the exterior of gardens, which is why you’ll spot them on Leigh Street in the Adelaide CBD.

Raywood ash (Fraxinus Raywood), photo: Peter Howell

4. Raywood ash trees

Raywood ash trees (Fraxinus Raywood), also known as the claret ash, are fast growing trees.

They can reach more than 40 feet tall, or around 12metres, and have a rounded canopy.

They are a perfect tree to create light shade in the summer sun. During autumn their usually glossy green leaves turn burgundy before falling for winter.

You can spot Raywood ash trees in the south-eastern suburbs, particularly around Mitcham and ANZAC Highway.

Golden elm (Ulmus glavra ‘Lutescens’), photo: Andy Kazie

5. Golden elm trees

Elm trees (Ulmus glabra ‘Lutescens’) grown in Australia are some of the most important in the world. Populations in Europe and North America were decimated by the Dutch elm disease from 1910, but elm trees in Australia were able to mature safely. This means you can enjoy elms around Adelaide which may date back over a century!

You’ll spot big golden elms in the Adelaide Park Lands and along historical streets and will recognise their signature yellowing of leaves during autumn.

Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia), photo: Misochan2, Wikimedia Commons

6. Jacaranda tree

These famous street trees are renowned for their distinct purple flowers, carpeting streets and putting on a bright display during spring.

They originate from south-central South America, and are a hardy tree. Jacarandas (Jacaranda mimosifolia) are popular with councils and large family gardens because of their minimal maintenance once established.

These purple beauties are all around Adelaide, but you can be sure to find them on L’Estrange Street in Glenside, Trevelyan Street in Unley, Chamberlain Avenue in Clarence Gardens, Byron Road in Black Forest, and Main Avenue in Frewville.

White cedar (Melia azedarach), photo: Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata, Wikimedia Commons

7. White cedar

White cedars (Melia azedarach) are extremely drought tolerant.

They are uniquely both native to Australia and winter deciduous (meaning they lose their leaves in cooler months). Australia has lots of trees that are evergreen (retain their leaves throughout the year), and even a variety of summer deciduous trees which lose leaves when water is scare in warmer months, but few trees are native and winter deciduous.

Crepe myrtle (Lagerstoemia indica), photo: Amada 44, Wikimedia Commons

8. Crepe myrtle

Crepe myrtle trees (Lagerstroemia indica) provide year-round colour.

They showcase red and orange colourful leaves in autum,. then shred their brown and grey bark to reveal pinks and reds in their trunks during winter before then flowering in white, pink, purple or red during spring and summer.

After the flowers fall, small round seed balls form. These can be cut off to stimulate new flower growth.

Grevillea tree (Grevillea robusta), photo: Alvesgaspar, Wikimedia Commons

9. Grevillea trees

These skyline trees are also known as silky oaks because of the texture of their freshly split oak.

Grevillea trees (Grevillea robusta) are fast growing, and can live up to 65 years.

Their bright flowers resemble small hair brushes and attract birds and butterflies. While they commonly bloom between winter and early spring, they can flower sporadically throughout the year.

London plane tree (Plantanus x acerifolia), photo: NobbiP, Wikimedia Commons

10. London planes

Named because of their popularity in the British capital of London, the London plane (Platanus x acerifolia) is commonly found around metropolitan Australia.

Its grey-brown bark peels off at a rapid rate, which helps the tree to survive polluted environments, and reveals white new bark which can give the trunk a mottled appearance.

The London plane tree produces small fuzzy rounded balls, called a fruit or seed pod, which ripens from green to brown before breaking up and falling for seed dispersion.

Protecting our trees

Did you know mature trees play an incredibly important role in cooling and greening our city? Discover 7 reasons to protect Adelaide’s mature trees.

Or, are you ready to try your hand at greening in your own backyard? Learn tips and tricks and expand your skills inall things gardening.

This story was originally published on 15 May 2022.

Like what you’ve read? Browse our other nature stories, subscribe to our monthly newsletter below and/or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.