Corymbia gummifera

Red Bloodwood

Family: Myrtaceae

A very common tree growing to 30 m tall, forming a lignotuber. It sometimes exists as a mallee and smaller tree on ridgetops.

It is found in coastal divisions, along the entirety of the NSW Coast, into Qld, north to about Bundaberg, south to a south-east corner, and west to about Lithgow and Marulan in NSW. It is very common in bushland on sandstone and sandy vegetation but is sometimes found on heavier soils. It forms a co-dominant part of coastal vegetation types.

The bark is continuous and flaky / tessellated, brown, often with black burnt-looking patches and gum excretions.

The juvenile foliage / coppicing-growth is disjunct, lanceolate to broad-lanceolate, mid-green in colour, to about 17 cm long and 5 cm wide.

The adult leaves are also disjunct, mid-green, lanceolate (spear-shaped) to 16 cm long and 4 cm wide. Leaves are noticeably discolorous.

The primary inflorescence of “eucalypts” (Angophora / Corymbia / Eucalyptus) is an umbellaster (an umbel-like cluster of flowers). In this species, the flower buds are arranged in umbellasters of 7, clavate to pyriform (club to pear-shaped), to 11 mm long and 6 mm wide. In Corymbia and Eucalyptus, the petals and sepals are fused into the distinctive calyptra (bud cap) which is shed when the flower opens. The calyptra / operculum is very short, hemispherical to conical.

The conspicuous stamens give the flowers their appearance; cream in colour. In Corymbia species, umbellasters are typically produced, in clusters, at the terminals, beyond the foliage to create a very showy display.
Flowering can be observed in November to January.

The fruit is a capsule (commonly called “gumnut”) typically urn-shaped in most bloodwoods; to 20 mm long by 15 mm wide. The disc is deeply depressed and valves enclosed. The fruit make for easy identification.

In the garden

Corymbia gummifera is not overly common in cultivation, and exists more as remnant trees on rural blocks and residential backyards. However, it is an attractive tree or even mallee, that could be kept smaller if controlled.

Prefers a sandy soil but may tolerate a heavier soil. Great for sandstone gardens. The prolific cream flowers in summer are very attractive to bees and other insects.

Tolerates light frost, poor soils and drought. Trees live for over a hundred years.

The grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) browse on the flowers.

Can grow to a tree at least 10 m tall, so allow some room to grow, in plenty of light. However, it could be cut back periodically to create a mallee form. A nice specimen tree in a lawn or larger landscape.


From cutting as seed may not come true to form.
Best propagated from seed.

Other information

The only other bloodwood in the general area of occurrence of C. gummifera is C. eximia (Yellow Bloodwood) which differs by having firm tessellated rough bark predominantly yellow-brown, leaves are concolorous, buds with an operculum scar

Eucalyptus gummifera was transferred into the new genus Corymbia in 1995 when it was erected by Ken Hill and Lawrie Johnson. It is still seen under the earlier name in some published works.

Regenerates by regrowing from epicormic buds and lignotubers after bushfire. It is thought in places like the Royal National Park, that the root systems of some patches must be 100s of years old as they continuously regenerate after fire.

Corymbia – from the Latin corymbium, meaning “corymb” (a raceme of flowers in which the pedicels of the lower flowers are longer than those of the upper flowers so that the inflorescence has a flat-topped appearance overall (like the shape of a piece of broccoli or cauliflower).
gummifera – Latin for “producing gum” which refers to the sap or kino often observed on the trunk of this species

Not known to be at risk in the wild.

Corymbia gummifera (lucidcentral.org)


By Dan Clarke