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12 Species of Gum Trees

Members of Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia

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Gum tree is a term used for the eucalyptus trees. There are three genera found in the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family that may be considered gum trees - Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia. The last one used to be included in the Eucalyptus genus up until the 1990s and you may still see that genus name used for them by some. They are called gum trees since many species ooze lots of sap if the trunk surface is damaged.

The sweetgums (Liquidambar spp.) and black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) are not related.

Almost all of the gum trees come from Australia, where they are the primary food of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus).  Over time they have been cultivated in other tropical regions around the world.  There are gum trees that can even live in cooler temperate locations like Norway. In some regions they are invasive.

Some gum trees form a lignotuber (underground root tuber with buds), often as a way to recover from fires.  This tuber can produce new branches as needed. Trees with this structure are called a mallee.

Oil from the gum tree leaves is used in a variety of medications.  Honey is made by bees that visit the trees, and the wood from many of the species are used as lumber.  

1. Blue Gum

Photo of blue gum
Image by Forest & Kim Starr via Creative Commons
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus globulus
  • Other Common Names: Southern blue gum, Tasmanian blue gum, common eucalyptus
  • Native to: Southeastern Australia and Tasmania
  • USDA Zones: 9 - 11
  • Height: 98 - 230' tall

The blue gum is the most commonly planted eucalyptus around the world. In some areas it has become invasive. This is the official flower of Tasmania.

2. Dwarf Apple

Photo of dwarf apple
Image by John Tann via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Angophora hispida
  • Other Common Names: Scrub apple
  • Native to:  New South Wales, Australia
  • USDA Zones:  10 - 11
  • Height: Up to 25' tall

As the species name hispida notes, this tree has red bristles on the stems and new leaves. The dwarf apple is one of the smaller gum trees and looks somewhat like a juvenile apple tree, generating the common name. This may also be found as a mallee.

3. Lemon-Scented Gum

Photo of lemon-scented gum
Image by Tatters:) via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Corymbia citriodora
  • Other Common Names: Lemon eucalyptus, blue-spotted gum
  • Native to: Northeastern Australia
  • USDA Zones: 10 - 11
  • Height: Up to 150' tall

This tree features leaves with a strong lemon scent that can be used as an insect repellant. This species forms a lignotuber.

4. Manna Gum

Picture of a manna gum
Image by HelloMojo via Wikimedia
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus viminalis
  • Other Common Names: Viminalis, ribbon gum, white gum, manna eucalyptus
  • Native to: Southeastern Australia
  • USDA Zones: 8 - 11
  • Height: 100 - 150' tall

The bark on the manna gum comes off in strips. The distinctive heartwood comes in shades of light pink. It is one of the gum tree species that can tolerate cooler climates.

5. Rainbow Gum

Picture of rainbow eucalyptus
Image by Jeff Kubina via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus deglupta
  • Other Common Names: Rainbow eucalyptus, Mindanao gum, Indonesian gum
  • Native to: Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
  • USDA Zones: 9 - 11
  • Height: Up to 225' tall

This is the sole species of Eucalyptus that is native to an area above the Equator. The spectacular bark shows off a wide variety of colors at once.

6. Red Cap Gum

The red cap gum is also known as the illyarrie
Image by h3_six via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus erythrocorys
  • Other Common Names: Illyarrie, red helmet gum, helmet nut gum, Bookara gum
  • Native to: Western Australia
  • USDA Zones: 9 - 11
  • Height: 10 - 30' tall

There is a scarlet cap that covers the yellow blossoms before they open. This is another species that can be a mallee.

7. Red Flowering Gum

Photo of the red flowering gum
Image by wlcutler via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Corymbia ficifolia
  • Other Common Names: Scarlet flowering gum, Albany red flowering gum
  • Native to: Western Australia
  • USDA Zones: 9 - 11
  • Height: 25 - 40' tall

The species name ficifolia indicates that the leaves of this tree are like those found on ficus trees. Like many other species in the Myrtaceae family, the flowers are made up of stamens with no petals. This is one of the more popular eucalytus species to be planted. It is a kind of eucalyptus known as a bloodwood.

8. Salmon Gum

Picture of salmon gums lining a street
Image by amandabhslater via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus salmonophloia
  • Other Common Names: Woonert, wuruk
  • Native to: Western Australia
  • USDA Zones: 9 - 11
  • Height: Up to 98' tall

This gum tree species sports salmon-colored bark while it is summer.  After that it becomes gray in the winter. The salmon gum is a good choice for salty areas.

9. Silver Dollar Gum

Photo of the silver dollar eucalyptus
Image by miheco via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus cinerea
  • Other Common Names: Argyle apple, silver dollar tree, mealy stringbark
  • Native to: Southeastern Australia
  • USDA Zones: 8 - 11
  • Height:  20 - 50' tall

Juvenile sprigs from this species are often used in the floral design industry, as are the young leaves of another species known by the same name (Eucalyptus polyanthemos). The silver dollar gum grows fast enough in one season to work as a large annual in cooler areas.

10. Scribbly Gum

Photo of scribbly gum
Image by Marcleh via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus haemastoma
  • Native to: Southeastern Australia by Sydney
  • USDA Zones: 9 - 11
  • Height: Up to 50' tall

The name scribbly gum is inspired by the tunnels left by the scribbly gum moth larvae (Ogmograptis scribula) as they burrow in the bark. Other species that can be affected by the scribly gum moth (and known as scribbly gum) are Eucalyptus sclerophylla, Eucalyptus rossii, Eucalyptus racemosa, and Eucalyptus signata.

11. Snow Gum

Picture of the snow gum tree
Image by amandabhslater via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Eucalyptus pauciflora
  • Other Common Names: Ghost gum, white sallee, weeping gum, cabbage gum
  • Native to: Southeastern Australia
  • USDA Zones: 8 - 10
  • Height: 30 - 100' tall, depending on the subspecies

The snow gum is able to survive in cold regions, even where there is snow. This tree is NOT true to its species name - pauci- (few) -flora (flowers). As the Australian National Botanic Gardens mentions, a European botanist named Franz Wilhelm Sieber collected some flowers when he visited Australia and some may have gone missing from his collection or he might have come across a specimen that didn't have many flowers, possibly inspiring the name.

12. Spotted Gum

Picture of the trunks in a spotted gum forest
Image by John Tann via Flickr
  • Latin Name: Corymbia maculata
  • Native to: Southeastern Australia
  • USDA Zones: Unknown;  likely 9 - 11
  • Height: Can grow over 200' tall in the wild

The spotted gum is endemic to Australia and also has lemon-scented leaves.  The bark forms a spotted pattern. These are a favorite food source for rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus).

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