Ghost Gum Tree

December 6, 2013 by  

Ghost Gum Tree, Ghost gum may refer to a number of Australian evergreen tree species including:
Ghost gum trees are native to Australia.

The common name ghost gum refers to several similar tree species, all of them native to Australia. The various ghost gum species are all large trees with light-colored bark and evergreen foliage. Although generally adapted to arid regions of Australia, some will grow in mild climates in North America.

Ghost Gum
Ghost gum (Eucalyptus pauciflora) has other common names in Australia, including cabbage gum and weeping gum, but it’s one of several species called ghost gum. It is a fast-growing tree that can add up to 3 feet to its height each season. With a typical mature height of 50 feet, it is one of the smaller species called ghost gum. It can tolerate a range of soil and light conditions, and can thrive in coastal areas in mild climates. This ghost gum tree grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 10.

Other Species
Several species in the Corymbia genus, which is closely related to eucalyptus, are also called ghost gum. These were part of the Eucalyptus genus until they were reclassified in the 1990s. Because they are so closely related to eucalyptus, they are commonly called “gums,” just like eucalyptus. The ghost gums (Corymbia papuana, Corymbia tessellaris, Corymbia bella, Corymbia arafurica, Corymbia aparrerinja) are native to northern and central Australia, as well as Papua New Guinea. These ghost gums reach heights of between 65 and 130 feet in their native habitats. In the U.S., these species generally grow in USDA zone 10 and above.

Growing Ghost Gum
Ghost gums grow quickly, and they tolerate both wet and dry soils, although they prefer soil that drains quickly and thoroughly. They are drought-tolerant and they can handle full sun. Their substantial height and rounded canopies make them desirable landscape trees, and their resistance to a range of diseases and pests keeps them free of common problems. Because of their ability to survive in harsh coastal or urban environments, they are also good choices for tough spots that might challenge less hardy trees.

Uses and Controversy
Gum and eucalyptus trees were first brought to California in the 19th century because their growth rate made them an appealing source of fast-growing timber and firewood, and their aroma was thought to have health benefits. Detractors argue these alien species displace native trees and that the leaf litter they produce is a fire hazard.

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