Actually, the terms “gum tree” and “eucalypt” are more complex than many of us, I think, realise. The trees I have habitually called Gums or Eucalypts actually come from three genera: Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Angophera. I was quite shocked when I discovered a few years ago that in the 1990s there had been a reclassification of Eucalypts, with about 113 species being moved to the Corymbia genus. Apparently the Angophera had already existed. I just wasn’t aware that they too were what I called gums. They all belong to the Myrtle family. Perhaps it would be easier to just call them that? Whispering Myrtles anyone?
Anyhow, while Central Australia is not the place where gums are the most prolific, you do find some wonderful specimens there. One of the most famous is the Ghost Gum (which is actually a Corymbia aparrerinja). It can grow in the most amazing places, seeming often to prefer exposed rock faces.
And here’s one, in a really precarious spot…
One of the other common gums in the area is the River Red Gum (which is really a eucalyptus – the Eucalyptus Camaldulensis). It is found in many parts of Australia, including Central Australia, and mostly grows in or by water courses. A useful marker in the Centre!
These are the gums that are sometimes called “widow makers” for their habit of suddenly dropping large boughs – apparently a protective mechanism against drought. We walked under this one – though this is only half the bough that is about to fall off. Still it looked dramatic.
I took many more photos but will save more for another post! But, aren’t they beautiful?