Big Corymbia ficifolia

Today we pruned a 50 foot tall Corymbia ficifolia. This tree, native to the far southern coast of Western Australia is in the Myrtaceae family as are Eucalyptus. Up until 1995 this tree was called a Eucalyptus ficifolia. It was one among 80 Eucalpytus to transfer to the new genus Corymbia.

Corymbia…from Latin, corymbium, a “corymb” referring to floral clusters where all flowers branch from the stem at different levels but ultimately terminate at about the same level.
ficifolia…with leaves resembling those of the genus Ficus.

Corymbia ficifolia is a very common street tree in San Francisco. They grow very well here in sandy soil where the summers are dry. Birds and bees love them. People, one the other hand often complain about the mess from the many red flowers. I’ve seen a lot of these trees butchered. They bounce right back, however. The suckers that grow after topping often break due to their weak attachments and they heavy fruit. These heavy nuts are numerous and quite a task for the clean up crew.

This particular monster is in the back yard of a very fancy San Francisco Marina Mansion. It took six of us nearly as long to set up protection, clean up the mess, and break down the protection as it did to trim the tree. We filled two trucks full of brush.

It think this is a great example of natural flow pruning. To the untrained eye one would not know the tree had been trimmed at all. Yet it has a great shape, light shines through the tree, and there is still good screening from the apartments in the background.