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Products > Corymbia citriodora
Corymbia citriodora - Lemon-scented Gum
Image of Corymbia citriodora
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Winter
Synonyms: [Eucalyptus citriodora]
Height: 100 feet plus
Width: 25-40 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Corymbia citriodora (Lemon-scented Gum) - This is a fast growing open canopy evergreen tree that has a mainstem that arises from a subterranean lignotuberous base and can reach up over 100 feet tall by 40 feet wide with a smooth uniform powdery white to slightly mottled bark that sheds in late summer into fall and has long narrow yellow-green colored leaves that are lemon scented when crushed. Small white flowers in 3-flowered umbels appear in mid to late winter. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. Requires little summer water in coastal California gardens and is hardy to about 24F. The small white flowers are not really showy because the tree is so tall they are nearly impossible to see but the beautiful straight trunk is a whitish pink that turns reddish when wet. This tree has long been cultivated in California and is one of the more elegant of the Eucalyptus clan. The strong lemon scent of the leaves is caused by the essential oil citronellal which is distilled for use in perfumes and menthol and in insect repellents. It is native to temperate and tropical north eastern Australian state of Queensland, where it is found mostly in dry woodlands. This species has long been called Eucalyptus citriodora but the genus Eucalyptus went through a major taxonomic revision in the 1995 and botanists now consider the proper name for this plant to be Corymbia citriodora. As the plant has been a common landscape plant in California we continued to list it under its older name for many years until general recognition for the name Corymbia citriodora became more accepted. Other commonly cultivated gums that are now placed in the genus Corymbia, a genus of about 90 species previously considered to be in a subgenera within the genus Eucalyptus, are the Red-flowering Gum (now Corymbia ficifolia) and the Spotted Gum (now Corymbia maculata). The specific epithet means "lemon-scented". Though most commonly called Lemon-scented Gum, another common name for this tree is Blue Spotted Gum. This tree has long been in cultivation in California and according to Harry M. Butterfield in his Dates of Introduction of Trees and Shrubs to California this tree was tree was first introduced to California by R.D. Fox at his Santa Clara Valley Nursery in 1894. Santa Barbara's own Ellwood Cooper planted this species on his ranch in the western Goleta Valley a few years later in 1887 and this tree, called the Ellwood Queen, has long been listed as the tallest tree in the Santa Barbara area. In April 2015 this tree was measured at 142 feet in height with a trunk circumference of 165 inches and a crown spread of 95 feet - it is now considered to be the National Champion Lemon-scented Gum. We have grown this great tree since the inception of our nursery in 1979.  Information displayed on this page about  Corymbia citriodora is based on the research conducted about it in our library and from reliable online resources. We also note those observations we have made of this plant as it grows in the nursery's garden and in other gardens, as well how crops have performed in our nursery field. We will incorporate comments we receive from others, and welcome to hear from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if they share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.