Identify Manna gums

White or Manna gums seem to be very rich. Insects, birds and fungus love them. The name “manna” comes from the sweet sticky exudate that forms naturally on the branches.  It is this that the 40-spot prize, and even farm!  Chicks and fledglings are fed this almost exclusively.

Their white, smooth bark with pendulous arching leaves unfortunately oft exhibit red and ginger stains, presaging their imminent death, as they seem sensitive to drought and plain ennui.

They can be quite small but typically are bigger and in moist environments grow to a massive forest tree. It has smooth bark, sometimes with rough bark near the base, lance-shaped to curved adult leaves, flower buds in groups of three or seven, white flowers and cup-shaped or hemispherical fruit.

It is typically quite a beautiful tree, relatively easily confused with Swamp gum (E. ovata) which is generally much more untidy and has green flower buds in groups of seven, white flowers and conical to bell-shaped fruit.

On Bruny other potential look-alikes are white peppermint (E. pulchella – much narrower leaves that smell of peppermint) and blue gum (E. globulus – whose huge nuts that can be found under the tree, with bigger leaves and twigs).

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