The Ghost Gum (Corymbia aparrerinja), formerly classified as Eucalyptus papuana, has also been described as Eucalyptus aparrerinja. The word aparrerinja comes from the Arrernte language to mean ‘found around river red gums’, although it is described by the Western Arrernte word for ghost gum, as ilwempe.

Whilst they can grow up to 20 metres in height, they tend to be smaller in statue, especially when growing on rocky hillsides, clinging to the edges, but still a very striking with its smooth white bark.

The tree has smooth bark, that is sometimes powdery, with white to cream-coloured bark. The bark may also have shades of pink, with the bark shedding in thin patches. It has lance-shaped or curved adult leaves and has white flowers, with flower buds in groups of three to seven. It has cup-shaped to cylindrical fruit.

Endemic to Central Australia, the Ghost Gum can be found from just across the border of Western Australia, through the south of the Northern Territory, north to Tennant Creek, Mount Isa and Barcaldine, Queensland.

The following Ghost Gum is considered to be over 200 years old. Located in Simpsons Gap, Tjoritja / West macDonnell National Park.

The Ghost gum with its brilliant white bark, are often seen growing by themselves against the landscape, looking glorious up high on rocky hillside. Whilst seemingly solitary, the most famous depiction of the ghost gum are the twin gums painted by famed Albert Namatjira.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Rosids
  • Order: Myrtales
  • Family: Myrtaceae
  • Genus: Corymbia
  • Species: C. aparrerinja
  • Binomial name: Corymbia aparrerinja

Footnote & References

  1. Ghost gum c1948, by Albert Namatjira, National Gallery of Australia,
  2. A touch of light: Ilwempe Aperrtye, Twin Gums, by Mike Gillam, 6 October 2020, Alice Springs News,
  3. Twin Ghost Gums (E. papuana) Trephina Valley, Northern Territory 1962 (picture), by John A. Tanner (photographer), TROVE,
  4. Ghost Gums; spirits of the desert, by Ian Fraser, talking naturally, Tuesday 7 January 2014,