Corymbia Ficifolia/Eucalyptus Ficifolia
Referred to as the Albany red flowering gum tree to locals, and as the red flowering gum tree to those who want to save a little time, this tree is a beautiful member of the Myrtaceae family and genus eucalyptus. It is a very small tree that is endemic to Western Australia. This means that it has only ever occurred naturally in one place.
Red flowering gums are the most commonly planted ornamental eucalyptus species. It is not difficult to guess why, as it has extremely lovely and showy flowers. These bright orange flowers are only one of the characteristics of this beautiful tree.
Though these trees are very small, they grow extremely and have a rather impressive life expectancy! Young trees can grow upwards of 24 inches per year, and they will live to be 150 years old!
Curious about other eucalyptus species? What about fruit trees? Or maybe you’re just looking to expand your knowledge on trees in general. You needn’t look any further than our amazing mega list of 101 Types of Trees from around the world.
What do Red Flowering Gum Trees Look Like?
Since red flowering gum trees tend to live in areas with very low annual precipitation and dry soils, this indicates that they will develop two types of root systems. One being a taproot, and the other being lateral spreading roots.
Taproots (which these trees share with carrots!) are a root that is very large and grows deep into the earth in order to access moisture reserves. Lateral roots help keep the tree upright and often spreads much further than the canopy of the crown.
Lignotubers are a strange plant adaptation that many eucalyptus species possess. They are often found in plants that live in areas that are prone to wildfires. Lignotubers are a way for a plant species to save its population from decimation from fire damage.
A lignotuber is a woody swelling that grows at the root crown. This swelling can be found peeking out from the soil, and it contains a collection of buds that lay dormant, only sprouting if the mother plant dies. The capsule also contains starches which enable the first period of seedling growth which is absent of the ability to photosynthesize. Isn’t that neat?
Red flowering gum trees are very small trees, and will very rarely exceed heights of 10 meters. Despite their short height, they have a rather gurthy trunk to help support thick branches, that in turn, support the weight of the huge flowers they sprout in the spring.
Red flowering gums stand very erect with a low-hanging dense canopy. They are very rounded canopy shapes. These trees tend to grow larger and more vigorously when cultivated and can be somewhat scraggly when growing in the wild.
Red flowering gum trees have a dark brown bark that is a very rough and fibrous texture.
Red flowering gum leaves are evergreen, meaning that they will persist and remain green all year long. Leaves are a glossy green color and are slightly more pale on the underside. An adult leaf is either egg-shaped or a broad lance shape.
How do Red Flowering Gum Trees Reproduce?
Red flowering gum trees possess “perfect” flowers, meaning that each flower possesses both male sexual characteristics (pollen-producing) and female sexual characteristics (ovule-producing). Though they are capable of self-pollination, flowers of the same tree or flowers of another tree can also be fertilized.
Red flowering gum flowers are borne on the ends of branchlets on a peduncle. Flower buds emerge in groups of 7, and a flower bud is an oval to a pear shape.
These gum blossoms are very aromatic, and though usually sprouting a red flower, they can range from being bright pink to red, to orange. The gum blossom will bloom all the way from December until May! That is a very lengthy blooming season.
Once a flower is fertilized it will produce fruit in the form of seed pods or capsules. The fruit is enclosed in valves that are a dull brown or green color. These fruits are called a “gum nut”, and are in the shape of an urn.
Where do Red Flowering Gum Trees Grow?
Red flowering gum trees are endemic to Western Australia. This means that this native plant has only ever occurred naturally in one single place. Their growing range is restricted to the sub coastal regions of southeastern Perth, eastern Mount Frankland, Walpole, and the Stirling Range.
Due to their extreme ornamental appeal, red flowering gums are also cultivated in regions with temperate climates and low summer rainfall. They perform quite nicely on the west coast of the United States and in areas of Ireland as well. They grow in USDA hardiness zones 9 and 10.
What are the Growing Conditions of Red Flowering Gum Trees?
Red flowering gum trees can be found growing in very infertile sandy soil. They are able to adapt to other soil types in some temperate locations, though it is crucial that they are not exposed to frost or damp soil. It can be either slightly acidic or highly alkaline.
Red flowering gums are tolerant of both full sun and partial shade.
Slightly unusual for flowering evergreens, the red flowering gum tree doesn’t require too much water to survive. They actually prefer to have dry soil and experience little annual precipitation.
How are Red Flowering Gum Trees Used?
The red flowering gum tree is the most widely cultivated of all eucalyptus species, and it isn’t difficult to guess why! These trees grow extremely quickly and are such a small size that they rarely need to be pruned.
They are very easy to care for, and they have an exceptionally long blooming season. It is rare to find a flower that blooms all through the winter (which is actually summer in Australia). They are an ideal street tree as they are tolerant of urban pollution and salt spray.
And we can’t forget to mention the glory of this lengthy bloom. Red flowering gum trees have flower colors ranging from striking pink, red, or orange. They are very aromatic with sweet nectar, which helps attracts bees as well!
Other than being an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators, the red flowering gum tree is also a very important habitat for an endangered species of parrot that is only found along the eastern seaboard of Australia, the rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus).