The Sydney Red Gum tree, also known as Angophora costata, smooth-barked apple, or rusty gum, is a tree species endemic to eastern Australia. The tree reaches a height of 100 ft (30 m) and has a unique smooth bark characterised by an orange-brown or pinkish colour when young and fades to distinctive grey with age.

The tree has lance-shaped leaves arranged neatly in opposite pairs on the tree’s stem. It also has white flowers that appear between October and December.

Sydney Red Gum
Scientific NameAngophora Costata
HeightGrows to 30m
Branch SpreadUp to 15m
Colour Of FlowersWhite
Flowering SeasonSummer
Best Conditions For GrowthA warm climate in loamy soils
AppearanceOrange-red bark with criss-crossed branches. Fades to grey with age.
PurposeOrnamental, Windbreaker
ToleranceFrost, Wind, Salt, Coastal Winds, Drought
Growth HabitEvergreen
Similar/Related ToEucalyptus Trees
Other NamesApple Gum, Smooth-barked Apple, Rusty Gum

The Sydney Gum Tree is a large and beautiful tree often found in parks and large compounds. It has a unique, beautiful colour and, when it flowers, it is the most beautiful tree you will ever see.

The tree grows very fast. With a wide trunk and large branches, you will need a professional arborist to help take care of it through maintenance or ultimately cut your red gum down if needed.

The Sydney Red Gum tree is resilient and grows well even in the oddest of locations and regions for such a tree.

Below are a few physical characteristics that can help you identify the Sydney red gum:

  • Unique bark. You can identify the Sydney Red Gum Tree by the pink hue on its trunk. The pink tree trunk turns a pale grey as it grows old or with every season of growth. It then sheds the grey trunk and regains its pink colour as it regenerates.
  • Smooth bark. Another distinct distinguishing feature is its smooth bark. Its branches are also uniquely gnarled and crooked. It is a hardy tree that needs little maintenance and grows well in sandy soils and coastal regions. However, it can grow well in a variety of soils.
  • Height. The Sydney Red Gum Tree can also grow to a height of up to 30 metres with a maximum width of 15 metres.
  • Flowers. It flowers between October and December and has beautiful white or cream flowers.

Why Is It Called The Sydney Red Gum Tree?

The Sydney Red Gum Tree gets its name from its place of origin. It originated and does well in the coastal regions of NSW, Australia. And, it is a common tree in Sydney. Hence its name.

What Are the Uses of the Sydney Red Gum Tree?

The Sydney Red Gum tree has several benefits both to humans and the environment.

Ornamental Tree

The Sydney Red Gum tree is an ornamental tree. Its unique colour, gnarled and crooked branches, height, and beautiful flowers make it the best tree to plant in a park or the middle of a large compound.


Like most types of gum trees, it is also a good windbreaker in your compound. When it is fully grown, it is a large tree that becomes a good windbreaker.

Natural Habitat and Food

This tree also attracts birds to nest on it, thus providing a safe home for different kinds of birds and small animals. Also, it produces honey that serves as food for some birds and insects.

Erosion Control

To support its height and width, it has deep roots spread over a large surface. Thus, the Sydney Gum Tree is a good erosion control tree.


The Sydney Red Gum tree is a dense hardwood suitable for furniture production and firewood. Its unique colour also ensures that it can make a beautiful floor for your home.


The tree grows well in a variety of soils which makes it suitable for horticulture. You can even plant the tree in your backyard. However, the tree sheds its branches sometimes, and it should not be planted near buildings.


Suitable Conditions For Growth

The Sydney Red Gum Tree is flexible. It can tolerate a wide range of climates and grows well in places that are hot and sunny. It thrives in sandy coastal soil conditions and can also grow in different areas. And, it is frost tender.

Once it is grown enough, the Sydney Red Gum Tree needs little maintenance. You don’t need to look after it. It will continue growing on its own.

It will grow both tall and wide in slightly acidic or PH-neutral soils.

When it is still young, it will need to be shaded from the full sun. It also needs to be regularly watered until it is fully established.


The Sydney Red Gum has one of the fastest growth rates, and with a reliable water supply, the tree can reach a height of about 12-15 metres within a few years.

This tree is thought to have a lifespan of between 500 to 1,000 years. It is very resilient and can resprout even after a bush fire.

Author: Ben McInerney is a qualified arborist with over 15 years of industry experience. He uses his in-depth knowledge of the tree service industry to give readers to most accurate information on tree service costs and helps to educate them about the benefits of using a certified arborist for tree trimming and removal work.