By TammyWhite
1 years ago

Know all about red flowering gum

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Corymbia ficifolia, commonly known as the red flowering gum, Albany red flowering gum and the Albany redgum, (previously known as Eucalyptus ficifolia) is one of the most commonly planted ornamental trees in the broader eucalyptus family.


In 2009, Parra-O and colleagues published a combined analysis of nuclear rDNA (ETS + ITS) and morphological characters published to clarify relationships within the genus Corymbia. C. ficifolia was shown to comprise a natural group with two other Western Australian species C. calophylla and C. haematoxylon. They classified the group as section Calophyllae within the subgenus Corymbia.


The tree typically grows to a height of 2 to 10 metres (7 to 33 ft) but can reach up to 15 m (49 ft) with a width of 5 to 20 m (16 to 66 ft). The tree can have a straggly habit. The bark of the tree is rough, short-fibred, longitudinally furrowed and a brown grey colour. The leaves are thick, dull green and with a prominent mid-rib. The flowers are brilliant red colour and the gum nuts are large, woody and urn-shaped. The large ammount of blossom produced can completely obscure the foliage in summer.


In nature Corymbia ficifolia prefers infertile, sandy soils but it is readily adaptable to most temperate locations, provided it is not exposed to severe frost or sustained tropical damp. It is an ideal street tree as it is hardy, moderately fast growing, and rarely grows large enough to require pruning. The largest known single-stemmed tree of this species in the world (216.5 cm diameter) is located on Princes Street in Hamilton, New Zealand. Because of its big and lovely colourful flowers, genetic improvement for cold resistance in Dublin area in Ireland is being carried out by collecting seeds from Western and Southern Australia in the coldest parts of Australia where it grows. In Ireland most of the plants were killed by severe frosts but the surviving shoots have been kept by tissue culture.


It is difficult to graft but grows well from seed, typically taking about 7 years before it flowers for the first time and 15–20 years to reach something approaching its full size of anything between 2–8 m. For the home gardener, buying a "red flowering gum" from a nursery is something of a gamble: it may or may not be a ficifolia, and the flower colour does not breed true - there is no way to find out what colour the flowers will be short of planting a seedling and waiting for it to reach maturity.


The common name, "red flowering gum" is often used, but generally not to indicate Corymbia ficifolia in particular as opposed to it and other similar looking trees. The name is also something of a misnomer; all gums flower, many are red, Corymbia ficifolia is not really a "gum" but a bloodwood, and its flowers can be any shade between pale cream, through pink, to red, orange or deep crimson.

Both species are unusual in that they mainly grow only in spring, which means that the flower heads (which blossom in late summer) are outside the bulk of the foliage and very visible. Both species share the habit of flowering heavily only every second year; typically parts of a given tree will flower one year and other parts the next, but this varies greatly: in typical corymbia fashion, each individual tree seems to have its own particular habits.

Along with Nuytsia floribunda blossoms of the tree regularly correlate with summer solstice and Christmas season in trees growing in metropolitan Perth.



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