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Products > Corymbia ficifolia
Corymbia ficifolia - Red-flowering Gum
Image of Corymbia ficifolia
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Red
Bloomtime: Year-round
Synonyms: [Eucalyptus ficifolia]
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 25-40 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Corymbia ficifolia (Red-flowering Gum) - A popular long lived evergreen tree that is noted for its attractive foliage and bountiful red (or orange, pink or rose) flower clusters. It is a dense compact-crowned tree that grows to 25-40+ feet high and is often wider than tall. It has rough, fibrous, and fissured bark that can be red-brown, black-brown, or grey brown in color that does not shed (as some Eucalyptus do) with branches that are somewhat pendulous and hold the slightly-glossy leaves 4-6 inch long ovate leaves that are dark green above and paler green below. Most often in late summer, but also sporadically throughout the year, appear the showy flowers, usually in groups of seven, in flat-topped clusters (corymbs) at the branch tips. The flowers are followed by large woody seed capsules.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate regularly to get established and then infrequently after this - this is a plant of a mediterranean climate and is particularly well suited to California's coastal climate where it is seaside and drought tolerant. It is hardy to about 25 degrees F. After flowering, the weight of the seed pods left on the tree can make the branches bend, so it is suggested that the pods be cut off on young trees to prevent branch breakage. With its dense habit and dark foliage from a distance this tree does not at first look like a typical Eucalyptus and its attractiveness, smaller size and relative slow growth makes it a great specimen garden tree in coastal California gardens and its bright beautiful flowers are also are very much appreciated by bees. Both its flowers and seed capsules are attractive in floral vase displays.

Red-flowering Gum is native to a restricted area of Western Australia, from south east of Perth and east into the Stirling Range to near Albany at the south western tip of the continent along the Great Australian Bight. This species was long called Eucalyptus ficifolia but the genus Eucalyptus went through a major taxonomic revision in the 1995 and the name changed to Corymbia ficifolia. As the plant has long been common in California nursery trade we continued to list it under its older name until such time as general recognition for its new name, Corymbia ficifolia, became accepted. Other commonly cultivated gums that were placed in the genus Corymbia, a genus of about 90 species previously considered to be in a subgenera within the genus Eucalyptus, are the Lemon Scented Gum, as Corymbia citriodora>/a>) and the Spotted Gum, Corymbia maculata

The name for this "new" genus was in reference flowers being in corymbs which is a primary distinguishing characteristics separating it from Eucalyptus and in fact is why Corymbia is thought to be more closely related to the Angophora, which also bears its flowers in corymbs. These three genera are closely related and collectively referred to as "eucalypts" or "gums" (though this latter name really refers to eucalypts that exude resins). The specific epithet of this species mean ficifolia "fig-like leaves" and other common names for it are Scarlet Gum and Red-flowered Eucalyptus. The merger of Eucalyptus, Angophora and Corymbia is being proposed in Dr. Dean Nicolle's recent article Classification Of The Eucalypts, Genus Eucalyptus but we will continue to list this plant as a species of Corymbia until such time as this change gets recognized so as not to confuse our customers and our own staff.

Red-flowering Gum was first introduced into California in 1873 by Charles Schurff in Pasadena, who grew it from seed and it flowered there for the first time there in 1879. By 1900 Dr. Franceschi (AKA Emanuele Orazio Fenzi) was selling it at his Santa Barbara nursery and now, over a century later, it is a common sight throughout Santa Barbara with a spectrum of flower flowers from red, orange to pink and even white, which probably indicates hybridization with the closely related white-flowered Marri (Corymbia calophylla). A large Corymbia ficifolia in San Francisco, CA is registered as a California Big Tree. It measures 40 feet high, with a trunk circumference of 243 inches and a crown spread of 58 feet. We have grown this great tree since the inception of our nursery in 1979. 

This information about Corymbia ficifolia displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.