Common name: Marri

Family: MYRTACEAE

The large urn-shaped nuts of the Marri are commonly referred to as ‘honky nuts’. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Corymbia: Latin, corymbium, a "corymb" referring to the arrangement of flowers in clusters where the flowers branch from the stem at different levels but ultimately terminate at about the same level.
Calophylla: Greek, calo, beautiful, and phyllon, a leaf.

Description

Formerly known as Eucalyptus calophylla, Corymbia calophylla is a large tree that can grow up to 40 metres in height and occurs naturally through the south-west of Western Australia in a range of habitats. With brown to grey-brown rough bark arranged in a tessellating pattern, the Marri exudes a red or rust coloured sap. The common name Marri is a Noongar word for blood, which has been used to describe the sap that weeps from wounds in the bark.

The large urn shaped nuts on this tree are commonly referred to as honky nuts. They hold large seeds that provide a food source to native birds such as parrots and cockatoos. The iconic honky nut is also credited with the inspiration for May Gibbs' gumnut babies from the 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' stories. Kings Park Education celebrate Australian literature in the outdoors with a special school program 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: A Kings Park Adventure'.

Flowering predominately towards the end of summer, the abundance of bristly, cream coloured flowers produces quite an impressive show, especially at a time when many plants struggle in a harsh, dry climate. A less common form boasts pink flowers.

Horticultural tips

  • Marri is a large tree, and therefore not suitable for small gardens. It is an excellent tree for shade in large areas, such as parkland environments.
  • You can propagate a Marri from seed, which usually germinates easily.
  • This species often hybridises with Corymbia ficifolia in a cultivated situation, where the two species are planted close together, resulting in progeny having a range of colour forms.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park to see Corymbia calophylla at Marri Walk located adjacent to Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park, or generally throughout the Western Australian Botanic Garden and Banksia woodland of Kings Park (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

Corymbia calophylla, Marri trees, display an impressive show of cream flowers towards the end of summer and provide an important source of nectar to local wildlife. Photo: D. Blumer. Distinctive flowers, buds, nuts and leaves of the Marri tree. Photo: D. Blumer. The rough bark of the Marri exudes a red or rust coloured sap. Photo: D. Blumer. A less common form of Marri tree boasts pink flowers. Photo: D. Blumer. Marri trees in the Western Australian Botanic Garden. Photo: D. Blumer.

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