Plant of the Month: Ribbon Gum

Flora, Plant of the Month, The Scoop

Twenty third of March is National Eucalypt Day so with that in mind it’s time for another gum PotM.

This month’s PotM is the Ribbon Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), there’s a couple of them growing near the bridge at Bunnan on the Scone-Merriwa Road, I’ve looked at these hundreds of times over the past couple of decades thinking I really should stop and identify them. So, a couple of weeks ago pulling up with my trusty “Field Guide to the Eucalypts” (Brooker and Kleinig) I grabbed a sample and sat on a park bench and set to it.

The Ribbon Gum is a tree mostly to 30 metres but sometimes up to 50, it has a generally smooth trunk with bark shedding off as ribbons, juvenile leaves are opposite, lanceolate and dull green, adult leaves are glossy, 8-20cm long and 0.8-2.5cm wide and the same shade of green above and below (concolorous). The thing which really distinguishes it from the other well known Ribbon Gum (E. nobilis) is having flowers in groups of three, where the Eucalyptus nobilis has them in groups of seven. 

Ribbon Gum is also known as Manna Gum due to the lerp produced as a protection by the leaf psyllids, these lerp (or manna) can be peeled off and eaten, though you’ll probably be going hungry.

The Ribbon Gum is generally found in higher country with rich soil and high rainfall.