Eucalyptus camaldulensis (river red gum)
Eucalyptus camaldulensis on the Murchison River in Western Australia (Image: Prof. Stephen D. Hopper)
Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh
river red gum, red gum, Murray red gum
Rated by IUCN as of Least Concern (LC).
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.
About this species
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.