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Useful Tropical Plants

Corymbia gummifera

(Gaertn.) K.D.Hill & L.A.S.Johnson

Myrtaceae

+ Synonyms

Eucalyptus corymbosa Sm.

Eucalyptus gummifera (Gaertn.) Hochr.

Metrosideros gummifera Gaertn.

Common Name: Red Bloodwood

Corymbia gummifera
Tree
Photograph by: Brooker & Kleinig
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera Corymbia gummifera

General Information

Red bloodwood is an evergreen tree; it can grow up to 35 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 120cm in diameter[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The tree yields an essential oil that is a commonly used traditional herbal remedy which has also become popular in modern herbalism. The tree is also a source of timber and is often planted, both for the timber and the essential oil. It grows well in Madagascar, especially at low altitudes near the coast, and it has been planted in Kenya and Tanzania[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

Citronellal, an essential oil found in most Eucalyptus species is reported to be mutagenic when used in isolation[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].
In large doses, oil of eucalyptus, like so many essential oils has caused fatalities from intestinal irritation[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. Death is reported from ingestion of 4 - 24 ml of essential oils, but recoveries are also reported for the same amount[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
]. Symptoms include gastroenteric burning and irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, oxygen deficiency, ,weakness, dizziness, stupor, difficult respiration, delirium, paralysis, convulsions, and death, usually due to respiratory failure[
269
Title
Handbook of Energy Crops
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J.
Publisher
-
Year
1983
ISBN
-
Description
Published only on the Internet, excellent information on a wide range of both temperate and tropical plants.
].

Botanical References

154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

Australia - Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland.

Habitat

Sandy gravelly to loamy sandy soils by the coast and up to 1,000 metres. Dry sclerophyll forests, mainly on sandstone soils but also sometimes on shales[
265
Title
Flora of the Sydney Region
Publication
 
Author
Carolin. R. & Tindale. M.
Publisher
Reed. Australia.
Year
1993
ISBN
0730104001
Description
Concise flora with little beyond an extensive key, species descriptions, very brief habitat description.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height15.00 m
Growth RateFast
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Red bloodwood is found mainly in the warm temperate to subtropical zones, though it has been successfully grown in many tropical climates. The species is hardy to at least -7°c in Australian gardens according to one report[
157
Title
Australian Native Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Wrigley. J. W. and Fagg. M.
Publisher
Collins. (Australia)
Year
1988
ISBN
0-7322-0021-0
Description
A lovely book, written in order to encourage Australian gardeners to grow their native plants. A little bit of information for the plant project.
] whilst another says that it only survives rare frosts in the wild[
77
Title
Eucalypts. (2 volumes.)
Publication
 
Author
Kelly. S.
Publisher
Nelson, Melbourne
Year
1969
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable book (in two volumes) on the many species of Eucalyptus trees in Australia.
].
Prefers a sunny position in a moderately fertile well-drained moisture retentive circum-neutral soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Tolerates poor and dry soils, especially those low in mineral elements[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. A drought resistant plant once established[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
], it also tolerates saline soils[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. One report suggests that it might be quite wind tolerant, even on the coast[
77
Title
Eucalypts. (2 volumes.)
Publication
 
Author
Kelly. S.
Publisher
Nelson, Melbourne
Year
1969
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable book (in two volumes) on the many species of Eucalyptus trees in Australia.
].
Eucalyptus species have not adopted a deciduous habit and continue to grow until it is too cold for them to do so. This makes them more susceptible to damage from sudden cold snaps. If temperature fluctuations are more gradual, as in a woodland for example, the plants have the opportunity to stop growing and become dormant, thus making them more cold resistant. A deep mulch around the roots to prevent the soil from freezing also helps the trees to survive cold conditions[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The members of this genus are remarkably adaptable however, there can be a dramatic increase in the hardiness of subsequent generations from the seed of survivors growing in temperate zones[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Eucalyptus monocultures are an environmental disaster, they are voracious, allelopathic and encourage the worst possible attitudes to land use and conservation[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants are shallow-rooting and, especially in windy areas, should be planted out into their permanent positions when small to ensure that they do not suffer from wind-rock[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
]. They strongly resent root disturbance and should be container grown before planting out into their permanent position[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
The flowers are rich in nectar and are a good bee crop[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

The flowers produce copious amounts of nectar which can be sucked from the flowers or mixed with water to make a sweet drink that is called 'bool' in Australia[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

Eucalyptus leaves are a traditional Aboriginal herbal remedy. The essential oil found in the leaves is a powerful antiseptic and is used all over the world for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats and other infections[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. The essential oil is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].

An essential oil obtained from the leaves is antiseptic, astringent and parasiticide[
152
Title
Australian Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
]. It is used in the treatment of various skin complaints[
152
Title
Australian Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
]. The essential oil obtained from various species of eucalyptus is a very powerful antiseptic, especially when it is old, because ozone is formed in it on exposure to air. It has a decided disinfectant action, destroying the lower forms of life[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. The oil can be used externally, applied to cuts, skin infections etc, it can also be inhaled for treating blocked nasal passages, it can be gargled for sore throat and can also be taken internally for a wide range of complaints[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. Some caution is advised, however, because like all essential oils, it can have a deleterious effect on the body in larger doses[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

An oleo- resin is exuded from the tree[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It can also be obtained from the tree by making incisions in the trunk[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
152
Title
Australian Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
]. This resin contains tannin and is powerfully astringent, it is used internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and bladder inflammation[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
152
Title
Australian Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
], externally it is applied to cuts etc[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
152
Title
Australian Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

This tree might be suitable as a windbreak near the coast[
77
Title
Eucalypts. (2 volumes.)
Publication
 
Author
Kelly. S.
Publisher
Nelson, Melbourne
Year
1969
ISBN
-
Description
A very readable book (in two volumes) on the many species of Eucalyptus trees in Australia.
].

Other Uses

An essential oil obtained from the leaves has medicinal uses[
152
Title
Australian Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Lassak. E. V. and McCarthy. T.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
A very good and readable guide to the subject.
].

The red wood is strong, hard, very durable in the soil. Frequent gum pockets and rings are a defect, resulting in the wood being used mainly for poles, piles, posts, railway sleepers, mining constructions and hardboard production[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The wood is used for fuel and for charcoal making[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a seedtray in a sunny position and do not allow the compost to dry out[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
78
Title
Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
Publication
 
Author
Sheat. W. G.
Publisher
MacMillan and Co
Year
1948
ISBN
-
Description
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
,
134
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 2.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1988
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.
]. Species that come from high altitudes appreciate 6 - 8 weeks cold stratification at 2°c[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Germination rates vary, but usually average 30 - 50%[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Rapid and complete germination is achieved under moist, warm conditions (25 - 30°c is optimal in the laboratory) in the presence of light[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. The seeds of this species are relatively large for a eucalypt and can be sown directly without pre-treatment into containers filled with a sterilized freely draining mixture of loam and sand and covered with a light sprinkling of fine sand[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
]. Pot up the seedlings into individual pots as soon as the second set of seed leaves has developed, if left longer than this they might not move well. Seedlings are planted out in the field when they reach a height of about 25 cm, 10 - 12 weeks after sowing. This should coincide with the onset of the rainy season in tropical countries[
303
Title
World Agroforesty Centre
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.worldagroforestry.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent online database of a huge range of trees giving very good information on each plant - its uses, ecology, identity, propagation, pests etc.
].
The seed has a long viability[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

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