Broadway Arboretum

Species Information Page

Corymbia calophylla Marri


Location in Arboretum: Swan Coastal Plain
No on Map: SCP01


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  • The species name callophylla is Latin and made up of two components; callo which means beautiful, and phyla which means leaf (i.e beautiful leaf) (Sharr 1996) (Seddon 1972). Leaves are a different colour on each side.
  • Leaves have parallel veins at right angles and leaves are held upper-side up, not edge up as in most eucalypts (Powell 1990).  Casts a heavier shade than most eucalypts (Powell 1990).
  • Fruits take a year to mature, and seeds shed 12-18 months thereafter (Powell 1990).
  • Very valuable for birds. Australian Ringneck and Red-capped Parrots chew the fruit when it is soft, the seeds are a major source pf food for Baudin’s and Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo, and the flowers and nectar attract range of birds.
  • The distribution of Red-capped Parrots matches that of Marri, and its beak specifically adapted for extracting seeds from the fruit. Red-capped Parrots leave a circle of beak marks just below neck of the fruit (Powell 1990).
  • There are short billed and long-billed forms of the White-tailed Black-Cockatoo. The long-billed (C. baudinii) arose from a western isolate and developed specialized adaptations for feeding on the fruits of Marri.  For food C. baudinii depends on the seeds of the Marri. In contrast the short-billed form (C. latirostris) depends on seeds from the small hard fruits of species of Hakea and Dryandra.
  • At Perup in South Western Australia Peppermint trees were absent and the diet of Western Ringtail Possum consisted predominantly of leaves of the two common eucalypts Marri and Jarrah.
  • Levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium were measured in the foliage of two eucalypts in Western Australia, Marri and Jarrah. Marri leaves had greater levels of all three nutrients than Jarrah leaves.  The observed differences in leaf nutrient levels are consistent with observed trends in the abundance and diversity of leaf arthropods and the use of the trees as foraging substrates (i.e. places to look for insects to eat) by birds.
  • In regard to the next three dot points please note our disclaimer. Anecdotal information suggests for example that throwing gum leaves into tea to add flavour is often acceptable but at certain times of the year the leaves are high in cyanide so can make the tea toxic!
  • Aborigines soaked Marri blossoms to make a sweet drink, ate the sugary substance exuded from the bark, and ate seeds and gum as cures for diarrhoea (Powell 1990).
  • The kino or gum that can be exuded from the bark or wounds is not water soluble and contains tannins.  The kino presumably has an antiseptic and protective function (Seddon 1972, p. 113).
  • Bees fed diets of Marripollen had the lowest mortality of 22 diets tested for 6 weeks and had life spans (50%) greater than 42 days. Marri pollen lipid is dominated by two antibacterial fatty acids: myristic (0.25 mg/g pollen) and linolenic (1.06 mg/g pollen). This story almost sounds like Roald Dahl's Royal Jelly story!
  • Marri is significant plant for the honey industry (Powell 1990).
  • A seed larger than any other eucalypt and it produces robust seedlings.
  • Marri is not susceptible to the dieback pathogen. When the roots of Marri were inoculated with dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi, lesions were restricted within 3-4 days and ceased extending whereas the lesions in roots of Jarrah continued to extend.  After inoculation, the amount of lignin in roots of Marri was increased above control levels by as much as 53%. Lignin concentrations in inoculated roots of Jarrah were unchanged.  In Marri, the lignotuber appears to be very susceptible to invasion by dieback in contrast to the roots which appear resistant. The invasion of the pathogen into the lignotuber and collar regions of both species was consistently associated with ponding of water around the plants. (JAB)


Cahill, D. M. and J. A. McComb (1992). "A comparison of changes in phenylalanine ammonia-lyase activity, lignin and phenolic synthesis in the roots of Eucalyptus calophylla (field resistant) and E. marginata (susceptible) when infected with Phytophthora cinnamomi " Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology Vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 315-332.

Hardy, S. T. J., I. J. Colquhoun, et al. "The early development of disease caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi in Eucalyptus marginata and Eucalyptus calophylla growing in rehabilitated bauxite mined areas." Australian Journal of Botany  Vol 23 (2) pp. 231 - 238.

Jones, B. A., R. A. How, et al. "A field study of Pseudocheirus occidentalis (Marsupialia : Petauridae) II. Population studies." Wildlife Research: Vol 21 (2) pp. 189 - 201 

Manning, R. and M. Harvey "Fatty acids in honeybee-collected pollens from six endemic Western Australian eucalypts and the possible significance to the Western Australian beekeeping industry." Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture Vol 42 (2) pp. 217-223.

Manning, R., A. Rutkay, et al. (2007). "Lipid-enhanced pollen and lipid-reduced flour diets and their effect on the longevity of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) " Australian Journal of Entomology: Vol 46 (3) pp. 251-257.
Saunders, D. "Distribution and Taxonomy of the White-tailed and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos Calyptorhynchus spp." Emu Vol 79 (4) pp. 215 - 227

Powell, R. (1990). Leaf and branch - Trees and tall shrubs of Perth, Department of Conservation and Land Management.

Seddon, G. (1972). Sense of Place, University of Western Australia Press.

Saunders, D. "Subspeciation in the White-tailed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus baudinii, in Western Australia." Australian Wildlife Research Vol 1 (1) pp. 55-69.

Sharr, F. A. (1996). Western Australian plant names and their meanings, University of Western Australia Press.

Tassone, R. A. and J. D. Majer (1997). "Abundance of arthropods in tree canopies of Banksia woodland on the Swan Coastal Plain." Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia: Vol 80 pp. 281-286.