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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Corymbia ficifolia - Red Flowering Gum

The Red Flowering Gum is a slow to medium growing evergreen tree, 20 - 40' x 15 - 50' wide usually with a rounded canopy, and dense, but can be more upright and narrow as well. Often multi-stemmed, or low branched it is reputed to grow much taller in cultivation than in its natural habit, unlike most plants it seems. There are some really nice smaller selections as well, just not available here. Too bad, can you image a 10' tree that blooms like this one?

Another name change, was a Eucalyptus, now along with a few others that we know, have become Corymbia.

Leaves are evergreen, simple, alternate, lanceolate to ovate, entire margins, leathery, dark green upper surface, lighter green lower. Distinct veination, midrib lighter green or yellowish and strongly perpendicular lateral veins and a pinkish-red petiole.

Beautiful red flowers borne in a dense corymb. Color due to the showy stamens. Like all Eucs they have a deciduous cap that is a  modified perianth (sepals and petals).

Fruit is a woody capsule, generally 1" long, urn shaped with a constricted opening, ripening brown,. Easy to spot.

Stems are stout, reddish colored with small buds.

Bark is thin, gray brown in color, flaking in small bits to show off an orange-red inner bark, but one that holds its bark.

Misidentification: Perhaps another relative, Corymbia calyophylla, which is similar looking but the flowers are usually white or very light pink, and larger buds on the stems.

Location: Quite common.

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