15 Magnificent Gum Trees (Eucalyptus) With Pictures
There are over 700 species of the magnificent gum tree, most of which come from Australia. They are a fast-growing evergreen species that tend to have a smooth or fibrous bark, leaves with oil glands, and fruits that are called “gumnuts.” They can make a nice addition to your Aussie garden, if you have the room!
Here are some of the most common and beautiful gum trees in Australia.
1. Water gum tree (Tristaniopsis Luscious)
Image from Santa Barbara Beautiful
The water gum tree is one of Australia’s most popular eucalypts. It has a much bushier appearance than other gum trees, and produces gorgeous red and yellow flowers with a sweet perfume in late spring / early summer.
The tree typically grows 4.6 to 9.1 metres in height when planted, but can reach a massive 39 metres in its native habitat. It’s roughly 5 metres wide, but this obviously varies depending on where it grows. The tree prefers a warm, moist spot.
2. Spotted gum tree (Corymbia maculata)
The spotted gum is another of Australia’s most common trees, and its beautiful, understated colouring makes it a popular choice for timber decking. The tree endemic to eastern Queensland and Victoria in eastern Australia, and you’ll see lots of them in those regions’ national parks.
It grows straight and tall up to a height of 45 to 60 metres, and is about 10 metres wide. Its bark is smooth, mottled, and grey/whitish, and its leaves pinkish or bluish grey. From autumn to winter, fragrant white flowers will blossom, which attracts local bees and birds.
The tree prefers full sun and well-draining soil. It’s also tolerant to frost and drought.
3. Red flowering gum tree (Eucalyptus ficifolia or Corymbia ficifolia)
This red flowering gum species originally grew in the Mt Frankland region of Western Australia, but its stunning, vibrant red flowers ensured that it was planted across the entire country. It’s relatively small as far as gum trees go, growing up to 12 metres in height. This makes it a more popular choice for Australian gardens compared to some of the other giants in this list.
The tree’s bark is rough and fibrous, and its leaves are deep-green and lance-shaped. It’s best suited to temperate areas with low summer rainfall and humidity, and prefers well-drained soil. The latin term “Corymbia” refers to its floral clusters which grow from the same stem.
4. Blue gum tree (Eucalyptus globulus)
The blue gum is an absolute beast that can grow up to 80 metres tall, which puts it up there with some of the biggest in the genus (the tallest is the swamp gum, which can grow to almost 100 metres). As you can see from the image, the tree’s bark is gnarled and twisted, with a yellowy-white hue. Its leaves are waxy and whitish down below, and glossy green further up. It also produces white flowers and woody fruit, which can arrive throughout much of the year.
5. Rainbow gum tree (Eucalyptus deglupta)
Probably the most striking gum tree you’ll find. The spectacular rainbow gum tree gets its name from the multi-colored bark that wraps around the trunk, running in vertical strips of green, pink, orange, and blue. It’s as though the tree has been subjected to a 2nd-grade colouring in party, but in reality, its vibrant bark is a result of slow and staggered shedding, with the air reacting to the fresh sub-layers and transforming it into various colours.
The rainbow gum is a hefty tree that grows up to 60 metres tall, so you may not want to plant one in your garden (unless your garden is almost massive). But if you do, it performs best with lots of fun, and rich, medium to wet soil. It doesn’t do well with frost, so you won’t be able to plant it in certain parts of Australia, especially Tasmania.
6. Plunkett mallee (Eucalyptus curtisii)
Image from Paten Park Native Nursery
The plunkett mallee is one of the smallest gums in our list, growing as a shrub-like plant between 2 to 7 metres high. It grows naturally in one small area near Brisbane—a town called Plunkett, which is where it gets its name. But it can be easily grown in Australian gardens, preferring full sun and sandy soils.
The distinguishing feature of the plunkett mallee is its spiky cream-white flowers, which you can see in the image above.
7. Red gum tree (River red gum, or Eucalyptus Camaldulensis)
This twisted character can be found growing near water across the entirety of Australia, particularly the Murray-Darling basin in the southeast. The tree grows up to 30 metres tall, and is known to reach ages of 1,000 years. They serve as excellent shady spots for kangaroos.
You’ll find a cream-coloured bark with patches of pink, yellow, or brown, white flowers, and curved green leaves. Be careful when walking underneath a red gum tree because they often drop entire branches without warning, or can even topple over entirely, especially if the tree is diseased.
8. Lemon-scented Gum (Eucalyptus citriodora)
Have you ever wandered through an Australian park and suddenly caught the smell of lemon? That may have been from the leaves of a lemon-scented gum, which emit a delightful perfume. This species of gum tree grows between 25 to 40 metres high, and forms something called a lignotuber at its stump—a wider outgrowth that helps to protect it against destructive forces like fire.
The tree is usually found in heavy soils, but can also grow in deep sandy loams, usually along coastal regions.
9. White Peppermint (Eucalyptus Pulchella)
Image from Trees of Stanford
The white peppermint gum tree is a smooth white/grey tree that is endemic to Tasmania. Yellow, pink, and grey ribbons can be found along its bark, which makes it a beautifully distinctive tree. It can reach heights of up to 20 metres, and forms a lignotuber at its base. The leaves of the white peppermint are thin blades, glossy, and usually dark green. Flowers are white and come in thick groups of nine to twenty. Contrary to its name, the tree doesn’t smell like peppermint.
10. Dwarf apple gum (Angophora hispida)
This pretty little gum tree was originally found in New South Wales, but its manageable size makes it a popular choice for gardens across the country. You shouldn’t expect the tree to grow any taller than 7 metres, and it has a flaky grey bark and elliptic leaves. Sadly, it doesn’t grow apples.
The dwarf apple gum should grow in most soils, and is incredibly low maintenance. It’s also resistant to drought.
11. Snow Gum (Eucalyptus Pauciflora)
The breathtaking snow gum is defined by its silvery bark, “painted” with vibrant mustard-yellow stripes. Its name comes from its place or origin: the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales and Victoria. The tree grows to a good height of 30 metres, and it explodes with a profusion of beautiful white flowers throughout the year, which have been recorded in January, February, April, August, October, November, and December.
12. Spider Gum (Eucalyptus Conferruminata)
Possibly the friendliest spider you’ll come across, the spider gum is a 15 to 25 metre tree that produces a bottlebrush-like yellow flower during October. It has blade-like leaves, and smooth, whitish grey bark that sheds in strips. It grows best in moist soil and full sun. As with many other species of eucalyptus, this tree is extremely combustible, so probably isn’t a good choice if you’re close to bushland.
13. Ghost gum tree (Corymbia aparrerinja)
The majestic ghost gum tree gets its name from Australia’s First Peoples, who thought that the glow of the trees at night was caused by living spirits. They used the tree to make shelters, paintings, canoes, spears, shields, and more, and have a deep spiritual connection with it.
The ghost gum is endemic to Central Australia, and grows to a height of up to 20 metres, making it one the smallest gums in our selection. Its bark is smooth and white/pinkish, and it has lance-shaped or curved leaves.
14. Spinning Gum (Eucalyptus Perriniana)
Image from Dear Plants
The spinning gum is an Alpine tree that is found in high areas of Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales, and ACT. This tree has an interesting origin for its name: when new leaves grow on the tree, they eventually die and disconnect, and can be found “spinning” around the stem.
The spinning gum can grow up to 20 metres tall, and is an ornamental tree with beautiful, quirky foliage that looks like green discs growing up its branches. This foliage is highly sought after by artists.
15. White gum tree (Eucalyptus alba)
By Mark Marathon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
The final tree in our list is the dignified white gum. Its white/cream base grows upwards in a jagged pattern, giving the tree lots of character. You can expect it to grow between 10 to 18 metres tall, and it will attract lots of birds and butterflies. It grows best in full sun, and in well-drained soil.