Long Point Conference Centre

The top of a large gumtree against a blue sky.

Gumtrees, also known as eucalyptus trees, are iconic symbols of the Australian landscape. With their distinctive smooth or fibrous bark, aromatic foliage and unique adaptations to Australia’s harsh conditions, gumtrees play an important role in the country’s ecosystems.

Importance of Gumtrees in Australian Ecosystems

Gumtrees are an important part of the Australian ecosystem for a variety of reasons:

Habitat and food source

Gumtrees serve as a habitat and a food source for a wide variety of Australian wildlife, including birds, mammals, insects and reptiles. The hollows formed in mature gumtrees provide nesting sites for birds such as cockatoos, parrots and owls, while the nectar-rich flowers attract bees, butterflies and birds. Additionally, the fruits and seeds of gumtrees are an essential food source for many native animals.

Soil stabilisation

The extensive root systems of gumtrees help stabilise soil, preventing erosion and maintaining soil structure. This is particularly important in Australia’s often dry and arid landscapes, where soil erosion can be a significant problem. By anchoring the soil, gumtrees help prevent nutrient loss and maintain soil fertility, supporting the growth of other plants.

Water regulation

A gumtree’s deep roots can access groundwater, helping to lower the water table and reduce the risk of salinity in areas prone to dry conditions. Additionally, gumtrees can absorb large amounts of water from the soil, reducing the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall events and helping to regulate local water flow patterns.

Carbon sequestration

Like all trees, gumtrees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and store carbon in their biomass. This helps mitigate climate change by reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Gumtree forests are significant carbon sinks, sequestering large amounts of carbon over their lifespan.

What Family are Gumtrees Apart Of?

Eucalyptus (or gum) trees are a part of the Eucalyptus genus, which is a part of the larger Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family. This family consists of dicotyledonous plants (plants that have seeds with two embryonic leaves). In addition to gumtrees, notable members of the Myrtaceae family include myrtle, clove, pōhutukawa, bay rum tree, acca (feijoa), guava and allspice. These plants are characterised by their woody nature, possession of essential oils and flowers with parts occurring in multiples of four or five.

Classification of Gumtrees

Three main genera are commonly recognised within the broader category of gumtrees:

Eucalyptus genus

Eucalyptus is perhaps the most well-known genus of gumtrees, comprising hundreds of species native to Australia and a few species found in neighbouring regions like New Guinea and Indonesia. These trees are characterised by their distinctive gum bark, aromatic leaves and woody fruits known as “gumnuts.” Eucalyptus trees are valued for their timber and essential oils.

Corymbia genus

Corymbia is another genus of gumtrees native to Australia, closely related to Eucalyptus. Formerly classified within the Eucalyptus genus, Corymbia species are distinguished by their flower structure, with flowers arranged in corymbs rather than umbels like in Eucalyptus. They are also known for their smooth or tessellated bark and are found in various habitats across Australia.

Angophora genus

Angophora is a smaller genus of gumtrees native to eastern Australia. These trees are closely related to both Eucalyptus and Corymbia but are distinguished by their distinctive bark, which often peels in large flakes or ribbons. Angophora species are found in coastal and inland regions, and like other gumtrees, they play important ecological roles in their ecosystems.

Some different types of gumtrees at Long Point Conference Centre.
Some of the gumtrees at Long Point Conference Centre.

Types of Gumtrees - Species

Below are some of the most popular types of gumtrees in Australia:

  • Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River Red Gum). These trees are often referred to as “living fossils” due to their ability to survive for centuries, with some estimated to be over 1000 years old!
  • Eucalyptus regnans (Mountain Ash). This species holds the title of being one of the tallest flowering plants globally, towering over 100 metres in height.
  • Corymbia citriodora (Lemon-Scented Gum). The leaves of this gumtree species are a favourite among koalas, who feed on them for their lemony scent and taste.
  • Angophora costata (Sydney Red Gum). Interestingly, the bark of this species sheds in strips, revealing a smooth, pinkish layer underneath, making it a visually striking tree in coastal landscapes.
  • Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum). These trees have been widely planted around the world for timber production, with some of the oldest plantations dating back to the mid-19th century.
  • Corymbia ficifolia (Red-flowering Gum). In addition to attracting bees and birds with its vibrant flowers, this species is also a favourite among native Australian birds such as lorikeets and parrots.
  • Eucalyptus pulchella (White Peppermint). Despite its name, the White Peppermint Gum Tree does not have a peppermint fragrance, but it is still highly valued for its unique bark patterns and foliage.
  • Angophora hispida (Dwarf Apple Gum). This species is known for its resilience and adaptability, thriving in various soil types and climates across its native range.
  • Eucalyptus pauciflora (Snow Gum). Snow Gums have a remarkable ability to survive in harsh alpine environments, where they play a crucial role in stabilising soil and providing habitat for wildlife.
  • Eucalyptus conferruminata (Spider Gum). The bottlebrush-like yellow flowers of this species provide a valuable food source for native insects and pollinators, contributing to local ecosystem health.
  • Corymbia aparrerinja (Ghost Gum). Indigenous Australian cultures revere the Ghost Gum for its spiritual significance and traditional uses in crafting tools, shelters and artwork.
  • Eucalyptus perriniana (Spinning Gum). The unique foliage of this species, which appears to “spin” around the stem as new leaves grow and detach, makes it a popular choice for flower bouquets and other interior decorations.
  • Eucalyptus alba (White Gum). These trees are often planted to attract birds and butterflies to gardens. It’s a slightly more slender gumtree, reaching 5-18m in height.

Are Eucalypts Only Found in Australia?

Eucalypts are actually found in several parts of the world!

Brazil leads in growing eucalyptus overseas, with about 2 billion trees spread over 1.5 million acres. They’ve been doing this for over 70 years, driven by concerns about forest destruction. Over 100 eucalypt species are grown there.

South Africa is next, with around 450,000 acres of eucalypt plantations. Madagascar, Spain, Portugal, California and Israel also grow eucalypts, each with varying amounts of land devoted to them.

Where in Australia Do Gumtrees Grow?

Eucalyptus trees have adapted to various environmental conditions, resulting in different species occupying different habitats. Some common habitats where gumtrees thrive include:

  • Woodlands and forests. Many eucalyptus species are found in woodlands and forests across Australia.
  • Rainforests. Some eucalyptus species, such as the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans), can be found in cool temperate rainforests, particularly in the southern parts of Australia.
  • Coastal regions. Certain species, like the lemon-scented gum (Eucalyptus citriodora), are adapted to coastal regions where they can withstand salty winds and sandy soils.
  • Dry and arid areas. Eucalyptus trees are well-suited to dry and arid environments, thanks to their ability to survive with minimal water. Species like the red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) are often found along riverbanks and in semi-arid regions.
  • Alpine areas. Some eucalyptus species are found in alpine regions, where they have adapted to cold temperatures and snowfall.

How Have Gumtrees Adapted Over Time?

Gumtrees have adapted over time to better survive in challenging Australian environments. There are two main adaptations that have helped gumtrees thrive:

  • Fire adaptations. Many eucalyptus species are well-adapted to fire-prone landscapes, having thick, fibrous bark that can withstand intense heat. Eucalyptus trees keep their seeds safe in hard capsules during bushfires and backburning (usually done by RFS volunteers). After the fire, these capsules open up, and the seeds fall onto the nutrient-rich ash. This helps them grow into new plants.
  • Drought tolerance. Eucalyptus trees have deep root systems that enable them to access water from deep underground during dry periods. Additionally, their leaves often have a waxy coating to reduce water loss through transpiration.

Conservation Efforts to Protect Gumtrees

Gumtrees are habitats for various species, so it’s important that they are protected. Rules on tree removal vary among councils, but decisions are often guided by Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and Local Environment Plans (LEPs). Permission from the local council is required before removing any trees from a property, with penalties for failing to comply.

A couple of years ago, a group of guests planted 40 native plants and 40 gumtrees at our Sydney conference centre to create habitats and food for the local koalas. We enjoy welcoming various native wildlife to our property and are thrilled to see these plants thriving!

FAQs and Fun Facts About Gumtrees

What is the most common gum tree in Australia?

The river red gum is the most common gumtree in Australia, and is found in every mainland state.

How do I identify a gum tree?

  • Check the leaves, which are usually long, slender and glossy. They also smell like eucalyptus!
  • The bark is smooth, rough or peeling in strips. Scribbly gums, which have scribbly lines all over, are common around Long Point.
  • The branches may be windy and twisted.
  • Look for clusters of small flowers. They can be white, cream, yellow or red.
  • After flowers have shed, gum trees produce woody capsules or “gumnuts.”


What are the gum trees in northern NSW?

The White Gum Moist Forest is found in Northern NSW. The forest is characterised by species such as White Gum (Eucalyptus dunnii), sometimes accompanied by Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna), Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) and Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus). The trees are primarily growing on the escarpment slopes and foothills, especially in gullies and lower slopes. These forests often feature a diverse understorey including rainforest trees, vines, palms, ferns and herbs.


What is the difference between Eucalyptus and gum trees?

The terms “Eucalyptus trees” and “gum trees” are often used interchangeably, but strictly speaking, there is no difference between them. “Eucalyptus” is the scientific genus name for these trees, while “gum trees” is a common name, particularly in Australia, referring to the same group of trees.


Are eucalyptus trees native to Australia?

Yes, eucalyptus trees are native to Australia. They are predominantly found in Australia, and can be found in neighbouring regions such as New Guinea and Indonesia.


What animals live in gumtrees?

Gumtrees in Australia provide habitats for various animals including koalas, possums, birds like kookaburras, cockatoos, honeyeaters and lorikeets, insects and sugar gliders.

Gumtrees Around Long Point, Sydney

Eucalyptus forests dominate Australia’s landscape, covering 101 million hectares, equivalent to 77% of the country’s native forest area.

Long Point Conference Centre is a group accommodation venue situated in the native Australian bushland. Gumtrees surround the property and it’s not uncommon to wake up to the sound of chirping birds. There are also several, beautiful bush trails leading down to the Georges River!

If you are looking to book in a stay, please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.