Red River Gum – Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Other Names: Red Gum, Murray Red Gum, Red River Gum, garlarl (Wunambal Gaambera).
Distinctive Characteristics: The River Red Gum is named for its heartwood, which varies from pink to red. They can grow to be quite large in girth. Their crowns are densely foliated with evergreen leaves.
Distribution: Native to Australia, it is the most widely distributed of all the eucalypt species. Elevation: sea level to 4,900 ft. (1,500 m).
Ecosystem: Common along the banks and floodplains of watercourses.
Maximum Age: Over 700 years old.
Maximum Height and Girth: Height up to 157 ft. (48 m), 45 ft. (14 m) in circumference.
Animal Community: Birds such as rosellas, cockatoos, galahs, owls, kookaburrahs, and the threatened supurb parrots nest in hollows; corellas and many other birds rest on the branches. Koalas eat the leaves. Bees, butterflies, birds, possums, and flying foxes eat the nectar. Hollows create habitat for many species.
Medicine: The sap was used as an ointment for burns and other skin problems and as a gargle for sore throats (Yarra). The sap was also used as an astringent to treat diarrhea. A leaf infusion was applied as a wash for fever or headache, and to treat coughs and colds. Steam from boiled leaves was inhaled.
Food: The white ash of the burnt bark was used to prepare the round yam, which is poisonous, before cooking (Wunambal Gaambera). The gum was eaten.
Tools and Objects: Weapons were made of the wood. The roots and bark were fashioned into containers. The bark was made into shields. Branches were used as digging sticks to find food and water. The wood was used in a children's disk-throwing game.
Art and Ceremony: The wood was used for making didgeridoos. Babies were smudged with the smoke to help them grow fit and strong.
Shelter: The bark was used to make shelters.
Transportation: The bark was made into canoes.
Modern Uses: Its durable wood is used for heavy construction, poles, railroad ties, fencing, flooring, craft furniture, particleboard, chipboard, pulpwood, and charcoal. It is a honey production tree.
Threats and Conservation: Not threatened, although grazing and logging have restricted its regeneration. Since they are often dependent on flooding for water supply, they could be affected by climate change.