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Although river red gum is native, and restricted, to Australia it was first described from a cultivated plant growing in the garden of the Camaldoli religious order in Naples, Italy. This huge tree has a thick trunk and multicoloured bark, mixing grey, off-white and brown. The wood is brilliant red (hence the name red gum), but can range from pale pink to almost black in colour. There is much variation in the shape of the buds, which come into flower from December to February. This variation is seen throughout its wide distribution.

Eucalyptus camaldulensis (river red gum)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
River red gum is a beautiful tree found along river banks and in valleys in Australia.

Although river red gum is native, and restricted, to Australia it was first described from a cultivated plant growing in the garden of the Camaldoli religious order in Naples, Italy. This huge tree has a thick trunk and multicoloured bark, mixing grey, off-white and brown. The wood is brilliant red (hence the name red gum), but can range from pale pink to almost black in colour. There is much variation in the shape of the buds, which come into flower from December to February. This variation is seen throughout its wide distribution.

The beauty of river red gum caught the attention of Hans Heysen, a famous German painter who lived in Adelaide, Australia, painting eucalypts between the late 19th and early 20th century. Stan Kelly, a Victorian Railway driver, also dedicated a large part of his life to painting the eucalypts he 'admired the most', including river red gum. 

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

River red gum is widespread in south-eastern Australia and southern Queensland. It is also widely cultivated, mainly in Europe and Asia, but also in California (USA), British Guiana, Venezuela, Bolivia and Africa. 

Description

A medium-sized tree, generally growing up to 30 metres tall (but can sometimes become a large tree of up to 45 m), with a thick trunk covered with peeling bark. The smooth bark can be grey, pinkish grey, white or brown. The leaves are mostly alternate (one at each node), lance-shaped to narrowly so, 18-25 × 2 cm. The leaves are green or bluish green, usually the same colour on each side of the leaf, dull or glossy, with oil glands seen clearly. The inflorescence is axillary, with 7-11 white flowers with pedicels (flower stalks) of about 2.5 cm long. The buds have a scar, and the bud caps are strongly beaked or conical. The stamens (male parts of the flower) are inflexed (bent inward or downward) or erect. The fruit is hemispherical, 0.6 × 1 cm, and contains yellow to yellow-brown seeds with a terminal hilum (scar indicating the point of attachment).

Dried herbarium specimen of Eucalyptus camaldulensis collected in Australia. Uses

The timber of Eucalyptus camaldulensis is used in construction, parquet flooring and for railway sleepers. The dried wood makes an excellent source of fuelwood and charcoal, and because of the fast growth of the tree it has been introduced for this purpose to many arid and semi-arid parts of the world. The flowers are a good source of nectar for honey production. The essential oil from the leaves has been used medicinally for treating coughs and as a vermifuge. It has been found to have antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant activities, and has also been found to repel some species of mosquito.

E. camaldulensis has been planted with some success to reclaim sand dunes and as a windbreak in parts of the Middle East. River red gum grows on a variety of soils, and occasionally along the borders of salt lakes. As a result, some provenances can grow on saline waterlogged soils of degraded irrigation schemes. However, because of water and nutrient competition it is not recommended to plan it alongside crops.

The beauty of Eucalyptus camaldulensis , with its multicoloured bark, has inspired gardeners around the world to cultivate it, hence it is now a widely cultivated species, and reported as the most widespread of all eucalypts. Although suitable for parks and large gardens in tropical and warm temperate drylands, it is less suitable as a street tree in urban areas on account of the litter resulting from its peeling bark and dried, fallen leaves.

Damage to Landscapes in South Africa

Eucalyptus camaldulensis is one of several Eucalyptus species which is invasive in South Africa. Australia and South Africa share similar environmental conditions, and hence species that grow well in one are likely to do so in the other. River red gum, although in balance with other organisms in its native environment has caused much damage to South African landscapes where it has been introduced and become invasive. Long stretches of rivers and dam shores have been transformed by river red gum. It draws up a large amount of water from the ground, contributes to soil erosion and adversely affects nutrient cycling and soil properties.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in the seed bank vault.

Description of seeds: Average 1,000 seed weight = 2.4 g

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: Six

Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox (the seeds of this plant survive being dried without significantly reducing their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB)

Germination testing: 98% germination was achieved with: germination medium = 1% agar; germination conditions = 20°C, 8/16. 98% germination was achieved with: germination medium = 1% agar; germination conditions = 10°C, 8/16. 91% germination was achieved with: germination medium = 1% agar; germination conditions = 15°C, 8/16.

River red gum at Kew

Pressed and dried specimens of river red gum are held in the Herbarium, one of the behind-the-scenes areas of Kew. Thedetails, including images, of some of these can be seen in the online Herbarium Catalogue.

Specimens of river red gum bark, oil, fruits, resin and wood are held in the behind-the-scenes Economic Botany Collection.

Distribution
Australia
Ecology
Found along rivers and in valleys, but has also been recorded in arid and semi-arid areas of the Australian mainland. Sandy to heavy soils.
Conservation
Rated by IUCN as of Least Concern (LC).
Hazards

None known.

[CPLC]

Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

Distribution
Cultivada en Colombia; Alt. 1600 - 2600 m.; Andes.
Morphology General Habit
Árbol

[FSOM]

M. Thulin et al. Flora of Somalia, Vol. 1-4 [updated 2008] https://plants.jstor.org/collection/FLOS

Morphology General Habit
Tree; bark smooth
Morphology Leaves
Adult leaves narrowly lanceolate, falcate, 8–30 x 0.7–2 cm, acute at the apex
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Umbels 7–11-flowered; pedicels slender, 5–12 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Operculum
Operculum markedly beaked, 1.5–2 times as long as the hypanthium
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit 5–8 x 5–8 mm; valves 3–5, exserted.
Vernacular
River red gum (English)

[UNAL]

Bernal, R., G. Galeano, A. Rodríguez, H. Sarmiento y M. Gutiérrez. 2017. Nombres Comunes de las Plantas de Colombia. http://www.biovirtual.unal.edu.co/nombrescomunes/

Vernacular
eucalipto, eucaliptus

[FTEA]

Myrtaceae, B. Verdcourt, B.Sc., Ph.D. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 2001

Morphology General Habit
Tree 20(–45) m tall with smooth bark.
Morphology Leaves
Juvenile leaves ovate to broadly lanceolate; adult lanceolate, 8–30 cm long, 0.7–2 cm wide; petiole terete or channelled, 1.2–1.5 cm long.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Umbels 7–11-flowered; peduncle slender, terete or quadrangular, 0.6–1.5[2.5] cm long; pedicels slender, 0.5–1.2[1.4] cm long.
Morphology General Buds
Buds globular-rostrate or ovoid-conical; operculum hemispherical and rostrate to conical and obtuse, 4–6 mm long, 3–6 mm wide.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx-tube hemispherical, 2–3 mm long, 3–6 mm wide.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits hemispherical or ovoid, [4]5–8 mm long and wide with broad ascending disc and 3–5 exserted valves; seed yellow, smooth.
Figures
Fig. 5/7, p. 30 & 11/1–2, p. 51.
Distribution
K3 K4 K5 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 U1 U3 Z

[FZ]

Myrtaceae, F. White. Flora Zambesiaca 4. 1978

Morphology General Habit
Tall tree.
Morphology General Bark
Bark on upper part of bole smooth, dull white or ash-coloured, deciduous in long strips, at base of bole rough, blackish, exuding gum, flaking in plates c. 3–5 cm. in diam.
Morphology Leaves
Leaves up to 25 x 1·5 cm., narrowly lanceolate, falcate, apex narrowly acute.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Umbels axillary, 5–10-flowered; peduncles 1–1·5 cm. long, terete; pedicels 0·5–0·7 cm. long, slender, longer than and sharply differentiated from the receptacle tube; flower-buds c. 0·8 x 0·5 cm., subglobose and rostrate; operculum markedly rostrate, 1·5–2 times as long as the receptacle.
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit c. 0·7 x 0·7 cm., subglobose; valves usually 4, strongly exserted.

[FSOM]
Use
Reported as planted on sand dunes and roadsides in Somalia.

Native to:

New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia

Introduced into:

Albania, Algeria, Andaman Is., Argentina Northeast, Ascension, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, California, Cambodia, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Chad, China South-Central, China Southeast, Corse, Costa Rica, East Aegean Is., Easter Is., El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Free State, Gambia, Greece, Hawaii, India, Italy, Kenya, Leeward Is., Lesotho, Libya, Malawi, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Morocco, New Caledonia, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Pakistan, Palestine, Panamá, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Rwanda, Sardegna, Sicilia, Spain, Taiwan, Tanzania, Transcaucasus, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Zambia

English
River red gum

Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Wentworth, W.C. [s.n.], New South Wales K000279684
s.coll. [s.n.], South Australia K000279680 isosyntype
Wentworth, W.C. [s.n.], New South Wales K000279685

First published in Cat. Pl. Horti Camald., ed. 2: 20 (1832)

Accepted by

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
  • Baliousis, E. (2014). Recent data from the flora of the island of Limnos (NE Aegean, Greece): new alien invasive species affecting the agricultural economy of the island Edinburgh Journal of Botany 71: 275-285.
  • Balkrishna, A. (2018). Flora of Morni Hills (Research & Possibilities): 1-581. Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
  • Brundu, G. & Camarda, I. (2013). The Flora of Chad: a checklist and brief analysis PhytoKeys 23: 1-18.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2009). Flora Mesoamericana 4(1): 1-855. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Dimopoulos, P., Raus, T., Bergmeier, E., Constantinidis, T., Iatrou, G., Kokkini, S., Strid, A., & Tzanoudakis, D. (2013). Vascular plants of Greece. An annotated checklist: 1-372. Botanic gardens and botanical museum Berlin-Dahlem, Berlin and Hellenic botanical society, Athens.
  • Dufour-Dror, J.M. & Fragman-Sapir, O. in Dufour-Dror, J.M. (2019). Alien Plant Species in Natural & Disturbed Areas in Israel Alien Invasive Plants in Israel, ed. 2: 1-246. Dan Perry Pub., Nature & Parks Authority, Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection.
  • Edwards, S., Tadesse, M. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1995). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 2(2): 1-456. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
  • Fairhurst, W. (2004). Flowering Plants of Ascension island: 1-300. Higham Press, Shirland, Alfreton, England.
  • Govaerts, R. (2003). World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Govaerts, R., Sobral, N., Ashton, P., Barrie, F., Holst, B.K., Landrum, L.L., Matsumoto, K., Fernanda Mazine, F., Nic Lughadha, E., Proença, C. & al. (2008). World Checklist of Myrtaceae: 1-455. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Jones, M. (1991). A checklist of Gambian plants: 1-33. Michael Jones, The Gambia College.
  • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741.
  • MacKee, H.S. (1994). Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie, ed. 2: 1-164. Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris.
  • McDonald, M.W., Brooker, M.I.H. & Butcher, P.A. (2009). A taxonomic revision of Eucalyptus camaldulensis (Myrtaceae) Australian Systematic Botany 22: 257-285.
  • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • Zervous, S., Raus, T. & Yannitsaros, A. (2009). Additons to the flora of the island of Kalimnos (SE Aegean, Greece) Willdenowia 39: 165-177.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Brooker, I. & Kleinig, D.(1983). Field Guide to Eucalypts, Volume 1: 170. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
  • Brooker, I. & Kleinig, D.(1994). Field Guide to Eucalypts, Volume 3: 268. Inkata Press, Melbourne.
  • Bureau of Flora and Fauna (ed.) (1988). Flora of Australia, Volume 19 (Myrtaceae - Eucalyptus, Angophora). Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Chen, J. & Craven. L.A. (2007). Myrtaceae. In Flora of China, Volume 13: 321. Science Press, Beijing and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. Online at eFloras.org.
  • Doran, J.C. & Wongkaew, W. (2002). Eucalyptus camaldulensis. In Oyen, l.P.A. & Lemmens, R.H.M.J. (eds), Plant Resources of Tropical Africa. Precursor. (Associate Editors: Davis, S.D., Chauvet, M. & Siemonsma, J.S.). PROTA Programme, Wageningen, the Netherlands. Pp. 79-84.
  • Forsyth, G.G., Richardson, D.M., Brown, P.J. & Van Wilgen, B.W. (2004). Rapid assessment of the invasive status of Eucalyptus species in two South African provinces. South African Journal of Science, Vol. 100(1): 75-77.
  • Holliday, I. & Watton, G. (2002). Gardener’s Companion to Eucalypts, 4th Edition: 56-57. Reed New Holland, Sydney.
  • Kelly, S. (1969) . Eucalypts. (Text by G.M. Chippendale & R.D. Johnston). Nelson, Melbourne.

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • ColPlantA (2021). "ColPlantA. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.colplanta.org/"

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.
  • Akoègninou, A., van der Burg, W.J. & van der Maesen, L.J.G. (eds.) (2006). Flore Analytique du Bénin: 1-1034. Backhuys Publishers.
  • Balkrishna, A. (2018). Flora of Morni Hills (Research & Possibilities): 1-581. Divya Yoga Mandir Trust.
  • Brundu, G. & Camarda, I. (2013). The Flora of Chad: a checklist and brief analysis PhytoKeys 23: 1-18.
  • Davidse, G. & al. (eds.) (2009). Flora Mesoamericana 4(1): 1-855. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D.F.
  • Dufour-Dror, J.M. & Fragman-Sapir, O. in Dufour-Dror, J.M. (2019). Alien Plant Species in Natural & Disturbed Areas in Israel Alien Invasive Plants in Israel, ed. 2: 1-246. Dan Perry Pub., Nature & Parks Authority, Israel Ministry of Environmental Protection.
  • Dy Phon, P. (2000). Dictionnaire des plantes utilisées au Cambodge: 1-915. Chez l'auteur, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
  • Edwards, S., Tadesse, M. & Hedberg, I. (eds.) (1995). Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 2(2): 1-456. The National Herbarium, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia & The Department of Systematic Botany, Upps.
  • Fairhurst, W. (2004). Flowering Plants of Ascension island: 1-300. Higham Press, Shirland, Alfreton, England.
  • Jones, M. (1991). A checklist of Gambian plants: 1-33. Michael Jones, The Gambia College.
  • Jørgensen, P.M., Nee, M.H. & Beck., S.G. (eds.) (2013). Catálogo de las plantas vasculares de Bolivia Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 127: 1-1741.
  • MacKee, H.S. (1994). Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie, ed. 2: 1-164. Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris.
  • Mostaph, M.K. & Uddin, S.B. (2013). Dictionary of plant names of Bangladesh, Vasc. Pl.: 1-434. Janokalyan Prokashani, Chittagong, Bangladesh.
  • Pandey, R.P. & Dilwakar, P.G. (2008). An integrated check-list flora of Andaman and Nicobar islands, India Journal of Economic and Taxonomic Botany 32: 403-500.
  • Wagner, W.L., Herbst, D.R. & Sohmer, S.H. (1999). Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai'i, rev. ed., 1: 1-988. University of Hawai'i Press, Bishop Museum Press.
  • Zervous, S., Raus, T. & Yannitsaros, A. (2009). Additons to the flora of the island of Kalimnos (SE Aegean, Greece) Willdenowia 39: 165-177.
  • Zizka, G. (1991). Flowering plants of Easter island Palmarum Hortus Francofurtensis 3: 1-108.

Flora of Somalia

  • Flora Somalia, Vol 1, (1993) Author: by M. Thulin & G. Moggi [updated by M. Thulin 2008]

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Chippendale in Fl. Austral. 19: 327, fig. 91/s–t (1988).
  • Dale, Introd. Trees Uganda: 35 (1953).
  • Dehnh., Cat. Pl. Hort. Camaldulensis ed. 2, 6: 20 (1832).
  • F. White in Flora Zambesiaca 4: 210, t. 47/b (1978).
  • Friis in Fl. Eth. 2 (2): 98, fig. 72.7/3–4 (1996).
  • J.P.M. Brenan, Check-lists of the Forest Trees and Shrubs of the British Empire no. 5, part II, Tanganyika Territory p. 371 (1949).
  • Thulin & G. Moggi in Fl. Somalia 1: 245 (1993).

Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Colombian resources for Plants made Accessible
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Flora of Somalia
Flora of Somalia
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Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa
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Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
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Universidad Nacional de Colombia
ColPlantA database
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