It reaches between 4 to 11 metres (13 to 36 ft) in height in its native habitat which has a spreading habit. It produces clusters of orange barrel-shaped buds with horned caps, which are followed by prolific red or pink flowers between August and December. The bark is rough and is persistent on the trunk and branches. The bark is fibrous-flaky box type grey-black, grey or black colour bark with whitish patches. The leaves are greyish green in colour, the blade has a lanceolate shape and is 90 to 120 mm (3.5 to 4.7 in) in length and 15 to 20 millimetres (0.6 to 0.8 in) wide. The leaves are basally tapered, the petioles are quadrangular or narrowly flattened or channelled. The conflorescences have a diameter that are 35 mm (1.4 in) with flowers that are normally coral-pink in colour but white, cream and red flowered plants are known. They are simple and axillary with three to seven flowered umbellasters with terete peduncles. The buds have a rostrate or urceolate shape and are not pruinose, the calyx calyptrate sheds early. The fruits that form later have a cylindrical shape with a depressed disc and enclosed valves.
Coral gum is commonly cultivated for small gardens and for use as an ornamental or as a street tree, especially in arid areas. Flowering often occurs in 2 years from seed. It can be grown in large containers in well drained soils.
It is tree found on hillsides around Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, and south to about Widgiemooltha in the Goldfields region of Western Australia where it grows in stony loam or clay and red sandy soils.
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