white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis subsp. viminalis)
Aboriginal people used white gum timber to make waddies (clubs), ate the manna from the foliage, and used moistened bark and leaves to relieve sore eyes. Todaoy we value white gum timber for building.
The common name 'white gum' refers to the tree's smooth white trunk. Also commonly known as manna gum.
White gum flowers from January to April. Other distinguishing features include its juvenile leaves growing opposite each other on the stem; glossy, narrow, dark-green adult leaves; a smooth upper trunk, with bark peeling in long ribbons; and rough bark around the base of the trunk.
Endangered forty-spotted pardalotes feed only on white gums. These birds are very rare in Taroona, so you are more likely to see their close relatives, the spotted and striated pardalotes. Look for them high in the tree tops, picking off insects, lerps and manna (the sugary secretion produced after insect attack). Aside from pardalotes, many other birds, insects and mammals also find food and shelter in white gums, including silveryeyes, honeyeaters and magpies.
(Photos: Richard Barnes and Fiona Rice)
STUDENT INQUIRY QUESTIONS
Find a white gum. Can you find manna on its leaves?
We grow and cut down many eucalypt trees to use for building timber, paper production - even firewood. Is this a good thing? Why? Why not?
Why is it important to protect Taroona's white gums?