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Eucalyptus citriodora

 
Eucalyptus citriodora
Just planted
lemon gum tree
Late summer – my, it has grown!
Synonym(s) Corymbia citriodora
Common name lemon gum tree
Family myrtaceae
Life cycle tree (Z8-11)
Flowers white
Size 40-90'
Light sun
Cultural notes well-drained soil; drought-tolerant

Broadleaf evergreen tree from Australia. Becomes quite tall in its native habitat, and grows fast enough that it can be treated as an annual shrub in colder areas. The leaves are grayish-green, hairy and lance-shaped, and are strongly lemon-scented.
We got our specimen in April 2018, as a wispy thing perhaps two feet tall. Once it settled into a freshly dug bed in our back yard, it wasted no time zooming upwards, and reached well above man height by late summer.

Eucalyptus citriodora
lemon gum tree
Interesting growth pattern: the trunk grows straight upright, with small branches coming off in a very regular alternating pattern. The lower branches die off as the tree grows, eventually breaking free right where they attach to the trunk, leaving a row of holes/scars going up the tree. The following year, in early spring, our tree started shedding its papery bark (making a bit of a mess of its environs). The bark has a reddish-tan exterior and a white interior, while the trunk revealed underneath is creamy-tan.
In fall of 2020, masses of creamy-white flowers appeared. I didn't notice them right away, because they were high up in the tree, which had been steadily shedding its lower branches so that the lowest "active" parts of the tree were a ways up. I didn't get a picture of those (but I capture evidence in the form of seedpods, see below), and likely won't for quite a while longer, because our tree did not take well to the megafreeze of February 2021. Its hardiness rating to zone 8 suggested it should have been OK, but a few weeks after the freeze, with the tree shedding not only its leaves but also many of its branches, it was futile to deny reality: any top growth of this tree was most certainly dead. A chainsaw sealed the deal about a month after the freeze, and there was no sign of life for a further month. Since I've had to lop watersprouts from the base from time to time, I was watching for regrowth from the roots, and sure enough – in mid-April I spotted fresh leaves, and a quick whiff confirmed that it was indeed the tree making a return. We'll see how that works out...

Eucalyptus citriodora
Contrasting shiny-burgundy new growth, late fall
lemon gum tree
Seed pods on a freeze-killed branch
Eucalyptus citriodora
New growth after megafreeze

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: right fence border

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Last modified: April 17, 2021
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