The Poplar gum is a small to medium tree, 8–20 m in height, semi-deciduous in the dry season.
It is often seen with a crooked trunk and low branches, but in the right soil it sometimes grows a beautiful straight trunk.
It often grows on poorly-drained flats in heavy clay soils, as well as on hillsides in shallow soils.
Small clusters of white flowers appear from August to October, followed by woody, gumnut-like fruit.
Unusually for eucalypts, it drops some of its leaves when flowering.
In good years it may lose only a few leaves, but in an exceptionally dry year it can lose almost its whole canopy.