12 Species of Gum Trees

Rainbow Eucalyptus in Maui
ShaneMyersPhoto / Getty Images

Within the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family of plants, there are three genera containing species commonly known as gum treesEucalyptusAngophora, and Corymbia. The last genus once was included in the Eucalyptus genus up until the 1990s, and some sources may still identify the species as belonging to that genus. 

Whatever genus they belong to, the species known as gum trees are so called because the species ooze visible amounts of thick sap if the trunk surface is damaged. The Sweetgums (Liquidambar spp.) and black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) are not related.

Almost all of the gum trees come from Australia, where they are the primary food of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). Over time, they have been cultivated in other tropical regions around the world. There are gum trees that can even live in cooler temperate locations such as Norway. In some regions, gums are considered an invasive species.

Some gum trees form a lignotuber (underground root tuber with buds), often as a way to recover from fires. This tuber can produce new branches as needed. A tree with this structure is called a mallee.

Oil from the gum tree leaves is used in a variety of medications. Honey is made by bees that visit the trees, and many of the species have wood that is useful as lumber. Some people like to chew on hardened chunks of gummy sap.

  • 01 of 12

    Blue Gum

    Windbreak Curve
    metriognome / Getty Images

    The blue gum is the most commonly planted eucalyptus around the world. In some areas, it has become invasive. This is the official flower of Tasmania.

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus globulus
    • Other common names: Southern blue gum, Tasmanian blue gum, common eucalyptus
    • Native to: Southeastern Australia and Tasmania
    • USDA zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 98 to 230 feet tall
  • 02 of 12

    Dwarf Apple

    White and yellow Dwarf Apple gum tree flower, Angophora hispida, Royal National Park, Sydney, Australia. Spring flowering
    KarenHBlack / Getty Images

    As the species name hispida indicates, this tree has red bristles on the stems and new leaves. The dwarf apple is one of the smaller gum trees and looks somewhat like a juvenile apple tree, a resemblance that is responsible for the common name. This tree may also be found as a mallee.

    • Latin name: Angophora hispida
    • Other common names: scrub apple
    • Native to: New South Wales, Australia
    • USDA zones: 10 to 11
    • Height: Up to 25 feet tall
  • 03 of 12

    Lemon-Scented Gum

    lemon-scented gums at Parramatta Park
    Manfred Gottschalk / Getty Images

    This tree features leaves with a strong lemon scent that can be used as an insect repellant. This species forms a lignotuber.

    • Latin name: Corymbia citriodora
    • Other common names: Lemon eucalyptus, blue-spotted gum
    • Native to: Northeastern Australia
    • USDA zones: 10 to 11
    • Height: Up to 150 feet tall
  • 04 of 12

    Manna Gum

    Eucalyptus (Еucalyptus viminalis )
    ArtEvent ET / Getty Images

    The bark on the manna gum comes off in strips. The distinctive heartwood comes in shades of light pink. It is one of the few gum tree species that can tolerate cooler climates.

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus viminalis
    • Other common names: viminalis, ribbon gum, white gum, manna eucalyptus
    • Native to: southeastern Australia
    • USDA zones: 8 to 11
    • Height: 100 to 150 feet tall
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Rainbow Gum

    Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree
    twildlife / Getty Images

    This is the sole species of Eucalyptus that is native to a region north of the Equator. The spectacular bark shows off a wide variety of colors at once.

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus deglupta
    • Other common names: Rainbow eucalyptus, Mindanao gum, Indonesian gum
    • Native to: Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia
    • USDA zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: Up to 225 feet tall
  • 06 of 12

    Red Cap Gum

    Vibrant yellow flowers and red buds of the mallee gum tree Eucalyptus erythrocorys, family Myrtaceae. Also known as the Illyarrie, Red capped Gum or Helmet nut gum.
    KarenHBlack / Getty Images

    In this tree, a scarlet cap covers the yellow blossoms before they open. This is another species that can be a mallee.

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus erythrocorys
    • Other common names: Illyarrie, red helmet gum, helmet nut gum, Bookara gum
    • Native to: Western Australia
    • USDA zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 10 to 30 feet tall
  • 07 of 12

    Red Flowering Gum

    Red Flowering Gum


    Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    The species name ficifolia indicates that the leaves of this tree are like those found on ficus trees. Like many other species in the Myrtaceae family, the flowers are made up of stamens with no petals. This is one of the more popular species for landscape use. This tree belongs to a kind of eucalyptus known as a bloodwood.

    • Latin name: Corymbia ficifolia
    • Other common names: scarlet flowering gum, Albany red flowering gum
    • Native to: Western Australia
    • USDA zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 25 to 40 feet tall
  • 08 of 12

    Salmon Gum

    Salmon Gum

     

    Australian Scenics / Getty Images

    This gum tree species sports salmon-colored bark during summer, which turns gray in the winter. The salmon gum is a good choice for regions with salty soil.

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus salmonophloia
    • Other common names: woonert, wuruk
    • Native to: Western Australia
    • USDA zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: Up to 98 feet tall
    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Silver Dollar Gum

    silver dollar eucalyptus tree
    Etsy

    Juvenile sprigs from this species are often used in the floral design industry, as are the young leaves of another species known by the same name (Eucalyptus polyanthemos). The silver dollar gum grows fast enough in one season to work as a large annual in cooler areas. 

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus cinerea
    • Other common names: argyle apple, silver dollar tree, mealy stringybark
    • Native to: Southeastern Australia
    • USDA zones: 8 to 11
    • Height: 20 to 50 feet tall
  • 10 of 12

    Scribbly Gum

    Scribbly Gum Tree
    Ken Griffiths / Getty Images

    The name scribbly gum is inspired by the tunnels left by the scribbly gum moth larvae (Ogmograptis scribula) as they burrow in the bark. Other species that can be affected by the scribbly gum moth (and also known as scribbly gum) are Eucalyptus sclerophylla, Eucalyptus rossii, Eucalyptus racemosa, and Eucalyptus signata.

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus haemastoma
    • Native to: southeastern Australia by Sydney
    • USDA zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: Up to 50 feet tall
  • 11 of 12

    Snow Gum

    Snow gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora) on the Porcupine track.
    Ignacio Palacios / Getty Images

    The snow gum can survive in cold regions, even where there is snow. This tree is NOT true to its species name, which translates as "few flowers" (pauci=few, flora=flowers). As the Australian National Botanic Gardens mentions, the mistaken name may have been because the European botanist who cataloged the plant (Franz Wilhelm Sieber) came across an atypical specimen with an unusually low number of flowers, or because his collected specimen lost flowers in transit. 

    • Latin name: Eucalyptus pauciflora
    • Other common names: ghost gum, white sallee, weeping gum, cabbage gum
    • Native to: southeastern Australia
    • USDA zones: 8 to 10
    • Height: 30 to 100 feet tall, depending on the subspecies
  • 12 of 12

    Spotted Gum

    Spotted gums in forest on south coast
    lovleah / Getty Images

    The spotted gum with its lemon-scented leaves is endemic to Australia. The bark forms an easily identified spotted pattern. These trees are a favorite food source for rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus haematodus).

    • Latin name: Corymbia maculata
    • Native to: southeastern Australia
    • USDA zones: Unknown; likely 9 to 11
    • Height: Can grow over 200 feet tall