Eucalyptus Tree Facts
The genus Eucalyptus includes over 500 species, with only a few hundred remaining today. They are native to Australia and New Guinea, but they have spread around the world since their introduction from Asia some 50 million years ago.
The Australian species E. citriodora was first described in 1875; it is now known as the Citrus Tree (Eucalyptus globulus). The New Zealand species E. pumila was discovered in 1934 and named after its habitat, Pukerua Bay near Wairarapa, New Zealand. These two species are the most widely grown for their fruit, which contains up to 40% oil when ripe. The leaves contain the other 20%.
The Eucalyptus family is one of the largest families of flowering plants, including many varieties. There are over 400 species worldwide, and some 800 or so in North America alone.
All species belong to the same genus Eucalyptus (pronounced “ee-kuh-LYEE-puss”), although there are several different genera within it. The most commonly grown species is the narrow-leaved Tasmanian blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus. It is closely related to the broad-leaved peppermint tree, Eucalyptus dives, but the narrow-leafed variety is more common.
What are some other names for eucalyptus trees?
Eucalyptus trees have many different common names, some used locally and some more generally. The most common names are:
What are eucalyptus trees used for?
Eucalyptus is used medicinally, in perfume, and as an insecticide. It is also used for firewood and in construction. The oil from the leaves is used in soaps and some medicines.
Where are eucalyptus trees found?
Most species of eucalyptus are native to Australia, but they are now grown all over the world in hotter, dryer climates. They can be found in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas in the United States, as well as in South America, Africa, Asia and Europe.
Eucalyptus oil is distilled from the leaves and used in soaps, perfumes and medical preparations.
Most species of eucalyptus are native to Australia. The blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus (sometimes called the Tasmanian blue gum) is perhaps the most common and is now grown all over the world in hotter, drier climates.
The most well-known use for eucalyptus oil is as an insect repellent. It is also used medicinally and in some soaps, lotions and shampoos.
Eucalyptus oil contains a compound called cineole, which has been proven to have strong antiseptic qualities. It is used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and colds and is also thought to have some painkilling properties.
Mountain Ash, (Eucalyptus regnans), the tallest flowering plant on Earth, can reach a height of 312 feet. It grows naturally only in the Australian state of Victoria.
How long do eucalyptus trees live?
Eucalyptus trees can live between 200 and 400 years. The tallest on record was an Australian mountain ash, Eucalyptus regnans, that grew in Victoria and was 312 feet tall when it was found in 1867. It was still standing when it was cut down in 1899, but by then it had become hollow, weakening it so much that it finally collapsed under strong winds in 1910.
How much wood can a eucalyptus tree provide?
It’s hard to generalize because there are so many species of eucalyptus, but a reasonable estimate is that one tree can provide enough wood for the daily needs of a family of four. It takes about 15 to 20 years for a eucalyptus tree to grow large enough to be cut down and turned into lumber. The main reason why it has not been more widely used is because of the relatively short lifespan of the typical eucalyptus tree.
But many eucalyptus trees are being planted all over the world as an “industrial” tree, meaning a fast-growing tree that can provide a lot of lumber in a short amount of time. These trees are also being used to prevent erosion and desertification.
Why are eucalyptus leaves poisonous?
Eucalyptus oil contains poison and is poisonous to most animals though apparently not always lethal. It is so strong that if you soak rags in eucalyptus oil and place them over the nostrils of a horse or cow they will go into a semi-coma and often die within hours.
Who was Eucalyptus?
The generic name “eucalyptus” was chosen by the famous British botanist George Bentham, who named it after a nephew whose name was Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus regnans was first discovered by the explorer and naturalist David Lindsay, 28th Earl of Crawford, in 1801. It was used extensively as a freeway tree in Australia during the 20th century.
How many species of eucalyptus are there?
There are around 700 species of eucalyptus (around 450 of them are endemic to Australia), most of which grow wild in the country. A number have been grown in plantations and are commercially farmed around the world; some of the most common are E. camaldulensis, E. globulus, E. maidenii, and E. rudis. All species grow best in temperate and subtropical areas but not in Arctic zones.
Which country has the most eucalyptus trees?
Australia has the most eucalyptus trees in the world. There are an estimated 600 million eucalyptus trees in Australia, about 10 percent of which are old growth forests of old eucalyptus that are over 1,000 years old.
What animals eat eucalyptus leaves?
Sources & references used in this article:
Effects of irrigation on water use and water use efficiency in two fast growing Eucalyptus plantations by RM Hubbard, J Stape, MG Ryan, AC Almeida… – Forest Ecology and …, 2010 – Elsevier
Production and carbon allocation in a clonal Eucalyptus plantation with water and nutrient manipulations by JL Stape, D Binkley, MG Ryan – Forest Ecology and Management, 2008 – Elsevier
Nitrogen dynamics in a eucalypt plantation irrigated with sewage effluent or bore water by CJ Smith, VO Snow, PJ Polglase, ME Probert – Soil Research, 1999 – CSIRO
Temporal variation of microfibril angle in Eucalyptus nitens grown in different irrigation regimes by R Wimmer, GM Downes, R Evans – Tree Physiology, 2002 – academic.oup.com
Effect of long-term irrigation with wastewater on growth, biomass production and water use by Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus tereticornis Sm.) planted at variable stocking … by PS Minhas, RK Yadav, K Lal, RK Chaturvedi – Agricultural Water …, 2015 – Elsevier
Constraints on transpiration of Eucalyptus globulus in southern Tasmania, Australia by AP O’Grady, D Worledge, M Battaglia – Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 2008 – Elsevier
Near-surface distributions of soil water and water repellency under three effluent irrigation schemes in a blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) plantation by LA Thwaites, GH De Rooij, S Salzman… – Agricultural water …, 2006 – Elsevier
A growth-irrigation scheduling model for wastewater use in forest production by MS Al-Jamal, TW Sammis, JG Mexal… – Agricultural Water …, 2002 – Elsevier