Corymbia clarksoniana

grey gums


Corymbia clarksoniana

(D.J.Carr & S.G.M.Carr) K.D.Hill & L.A.S.Johnson 1995

pronounced: kor-RIM-bee-uh klarx-on-ee-AR-nah

(Myrtaceae — the gum family)

synonym — Eucalyptus clarksoniana

D.J.Carr & S.G.M.Carr 1987

pronounced: yoo-kuh-LIP-tuss klarx-on-ee-AR-nah

common names: grey bloodwood, Clarkson's bloodwood, grey gum

native 4Corymbia is from the Greek κορυμβος (korymbos), cluster, referring to the flowering habit. The genus was separated from Eucalyptus in 1995, and contains those gum trees whose flowers are borne in corymbs, flat-topped floral clusters with the outer flowers opening first. Eucalyptus clarksoniana was separated from the Eucalyptus polycarpa group of bloodwoods by the husband and wife botanists D.J. & S.G.M. Carr in 1987, and named for the indefatigable Mareeba botanist J.R. Clarkson (born 1950), who described the type tree in 1980 at a spot in Cape York Peninsula about half way between Cooktown and Kowanyama. Many trees formerly considered to be Eucalyptus polycarpa are now placed in this new species, including the tree commonly known as Grey Gum on Magnetic Island. These are quite common here, and those pictured are in Barbarra Street, Picnic Bay.

The name Bloodwood is derived from the trees’ kino, a plant gum produced in reaction to mechanical damage, and which can be tapped by incisions made in the trunk. Its red colour, together with the tendency of some species to ooze large amounts of it from wounds, is the source not only of the term ‘bloodwood’, but also of ‘red gum’.

Clarkson’s Bloodwood is widely distributed in eastern Queensland from Cape York Peninsula south, extending to far northern NSW. It grows to about 20 m; the bark is persistent throughout, tessellated, red-brown to grey-brown. The branchlets are green. Pith glands are present, but no bark glands.

The juvenile leaves are disjunct from node 3 – 5, lanceolate to ovate, petiolate. Intermediate leaves disjunct early, and are elliptic to broad lanceolate, straight, entire, glossy green, petiolate up to 18 cm long by 5 mm wide. The adult leaves are disjunct, narrow lanceolate to lanceolate, not falcate, acuminate, tapered at the base, dull, grey-green, thin, discolorous, 12 – 20 cm long by 1.5  – 3.5 cm wide. The lateral veins are obscure, obtuse, closely spaced. The intramarginal vein is distinct, and continuous.

The inflorescences are compound and terminal, white in large clusters on the outer edge of the tree. The fruit is a woody urn-shaped capsule, about 1½ times as long as it is wide. Black cockatoos have no trouble opening it to get at the seeds.

The timber from this tree has a reddish heartwood, hard, strong, durable in the ground, used for split fence posts, strainer posts and other farm timber; it is occasionally sawn for general construction, and is a good fuel wood.


Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2012
Page last updated 28th November 2018