“Eucalypts”, “Gum Trees”, “mallees”, “mallet”, “marlock”, “Apple Box”,
Taphonomy/Taxonomy: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Rosids; Myrtales; Myrtaceae; Eucalyptus.
Over 700 Species.
Native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. Might be native to the Archipelagos of the Philippines as well as Taiwan. With over 700 Species, 691 are found in Australia, and 15 of the species can be found outside of Australia, with only 9 species not local to Australia. Eucalyptus species are found cultivated in other parts of the world, especially in tropical/subtropical regions in the Americas, Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, China, and India.
One of the most dominant fast growing trees found in Australia, the Eucalypus is a diverse species of Myrtle Family trees and shrubs.Single stemmed with a crown forming a minor proportion of the tree height for the trees found in forests, and single stemmed with short branches above ground level for those in the woodlands. Those that are multi-stemmed from the ground level but rarely taller than 10 meter height are called “Mallees” and have crowns at the ends of the branchlets. Leaves are lanceolate shaped, alternate, petiolate, and waxy/glossy evergreen though some tropical species lose their leaves during termination of a dry season. The leaves are covered with oil glands. Mature trees have numerous full leafs and are towering giants offering patchy shade as the leaves droop downwards. Leaves of the seedlings are sometimes sessile, glaucous, and opposite. There are numerous differences between species. The flowers are very distinct for the Eucalyptus as well as its capsule/gumnut fruit. White, cream, pink/red, or yellow fluffy stamened flowers with no petals enclosed by a operculum cap composed of fused petals, sepals, or a combination. When the stamens expand, the operculum breaks off splitting from the cup-like flower base and is what gives to the naming of the tree. Fruis are cone-shaped, woody with valves at its ends that release the seeds. Full or Half Barks can range from smooth to textured, stringybarks, ironbarks, tessellated, boxed with short fibres, or ribbon barked with a satiny sheen as white, grey, green, copper, or cream colored. Dead bark can sometimes be retained in the lower half of the trunks/stems. Relating to the Gum Tree family as many species will release gummy sap where a break on a branch or the bark occurs. Its roots control sitting water, drainage, and irrigation. Some species of Eucalyptus are amongst the tallest trees in the world. The oils in the wood, bark, and leaves are highly flammable and can become explosive during forest fires.
Commonly used for lumber, abstracting oil for cleaning, natural insecticide, for draining swamps, as windbreaks, erosion control, ornament, firewood, pulpwood, fencing, and controlling malaria. It is highly effective against mosquitoes. All parts of the tree is used to make dyes for silk and wool by processing the plant part with water forming a yellow through orange, green through tan, chocolate through deep rust red coloring. The Eucalyptus is an Excellent tree used to cut down on carbon dioxide as a Eucalyptus absorbs 300 kilograms a year. The entire tree is a cash crop for South Africa, Peru, and Timbuktu. Some pulpwood is used to make paper. The wood is often used to make the Australian aboriginee instrument called the Didgeridoo. They are also commonly planted for shade and ornamental uses.
Eucalyptus oils are very toxic, but Eucalyptus is a primary food source for some marsupials such as the koalas and some possums. The flowers provide alot of nectar to birds, bats, possums, and insects but not utilized by humans for food except to produce high-quality mono-floral honey. Small amounts of the oil are used in sweets and cough drops.
Natural insecticide. The oil, while toxic in high quantities in lower levels is a very powerful natural disinfectant, cleaning, deodorizing, sweets, cough drops, toothpaste, and decongestants.
Folklore and History:
Surviving on this planet for over 50 million years, the Eucalyptus is a very ancient tree that is primarily found in Australia. “Eucalyptus” comes from the generic Greek words ευ (eu) which means “well” and καλυπτος (kalyptos) which means “covered” as “well covered” relating to the operculum of the calyx that conceals the tree’s flower. The tree has gained notable attention throughout the world by environmentalists, scientists, and watershed developers because they are fast growing sources of wood containing an oil that has industrial and commercial uses. Also with its ability to drain swamps for watershed issues, development, and the control of malaria. It was Sir Joseph Banks on Captain Cook’s 1770 expedition that introduced the Eucalyptus to the rest of the world. By Cook’s 1777 voyage, a crew mate named David Nelson collected some Eucalyptus samples from Southern Tasmania which was taken to the British Museum in London which led to its naming.
Cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Planted often to control water, sitting water, swamps, ponds, and irrigation. Most Eucalyptus are not tolerant of frost (not much more than minus 3-5 degrees Celsius) even the Snow Gums (Eucalypus pauciflora) the hardiest can only withsand cold and frost to -20 degrees Celsius. They require a large amount of water from the soil so often planted in some places to lower the water table and reduce salination in the soil.
Researched and written by Thomas Baurley; Leaf McGowan; Technogypsie Research; et al.
Bibliography and Recommended Reading:
- Baurley, Thomas: Technogypsie.com ~ “Eucalyptus; 2011. www.technogypsie.com/science/.
- Brooker & Kleinig: A Field Guide to Eucalypts, Volume 1.
- EFloras.org: Flora of China. obtained in 2011 from website. www.efloras.org.
- Encyclopedia of Life: eol.org ~ “Eucalyptus blakelyi; obtained in 2011 from website. www.eol.org.
- Euclid: anbg.gov.au ~ “Eucalypts of Southern Australia; obtained in 2011 from website. http://anbg.gov.au.
- Plant Net: Eucalink – A Web Guide to the Eucalypts ~ Eucalyptus blakelyi; obtained in 2011 from website. http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.
- Walker, Karen; Burrows, Geoff; McMahon, Lynne: Bidgee Bush – an Identification guide to common native plant species of the south western slopes of New South Wales”.
- Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia ~ Eucalyptus blakelyi; obtained in 2011 from website. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.
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