All Kinds of Eucalyptus Trees You Should Know About
Eucalyptus trees, often referred to as gum trees, are a group of evergreen trees that are almost entirely native to Australia. The genus eucalyptus includes hundreds of species of shrubs, mallees and trees that belong to the family Myrtaceae.
Different kinds of eucalyptus trees usually feature shaggy, peeling barks, leathery and glossy leaves and flowers that have stamens instead of petals. Not only do they look ornamental and stately, but also serve a bunch of purposes.
Eucalyptus essential oil is commonly used for aromatherapy as well as medicinal purposes. Eucalyptus tree varieties also provide fuel for firewood and their leaves are used in floral arrangements. They are often planted as a specimen tree, as windbreaks and for ornamental purposes.
The shape, size, trunk type, and foliage vary in different types of eucalyptus trees. Read on to find out more about them.
- What Does A Eucalyptus Tree Look Like?
- What Do Eucalyptus Trees Have In Common?
- Why Do Eucalyptus Trees Shed Their Bark?
- Eucalyptus Tree Types
What Does A Eucalyptus Tree Look Like?
This distinctive tree is actually quite easy to identify. A Eucalyptus tree is moderately large and can be anywhere between 20 to 50 meters or more, depending upon the eucalyptus tree species and a few other factors. Mallees or Eucalyptus shrubs can grow up to 10 meters.
A eucalyptus tree has a shaggy bark and long, leathery, blue-green leaves that are thick and pointed. The oil-secreting glands are located on the leaves that grow alternatively on the branches of the tree.
Eucalyptus trees produce flowers that resemble a closed cup before blossoming. However, you will not find any petals but fluffy, hairy flower stamens, once the cup opens. The flowers eventually turn into small woody nut-like fruits.
What Do Different Kinds of Eucalyptus Trees Have In Common?
There are dozens of eucalyptus trees and each one is different from the other. However, there are a few common traits that can be found in nearly all different types of eucalyptus trees.
- In most eucalyptus tree varieties, the leaves of a juvenile tree are different in shape, color and placement from that of a mature one.
- All eucalyptus species have usually flowers that consist of fluffy stamens instead of petals.
- Almost all eucalyptus trees have a rapid growth rate.
Why Do Eucalyptus Trees Shed Their Bark?
Summer is usually the growing season for eucalyptus and as they grow, the trees put on new sapwood on the outside. As a result, they expand and the old tree bark starts to peel. This shedding or ‘decorticating’ can be seen in several eucalyptus trees all year round.
This process also aids in keeping the tree healthy. As eucalyptus sheds the old, dead bark, it also gets rid of lichens, mosses, parasites, and fungi that may have been living on it. Moreover, some peeling barks have the ability to carry out photosynthesis, thus contributing to the tree’s growth and health.
A eucalyptus tree shedding its bark is not really a cause for concern. This natural phenomenon occurs in most healthy eucalyptus trees, especially smooth bark eucalypts. As the old bark of the tree dries and peels, it often leads to the formation of intriguing patterns and colourful patches on the trunk.
Kinds of Eucalyptus Trees
The eucalyptus genus is large and confusing. To make things easier, different types of eucalyptus trees have been divided into two broad categories – mallees and trees (Large eucalyptus).
Malle: The term is used for short and bushy eucalyptus species that generally do not grow more than 30 feet in height. Malle eucalyptus features multiple stems and lignotubers.
Large eucalyptus or Tree-like eucalyptus: This term refers to eucalyptus varieties that are large and stately and have a single trunk. Some of these varieties feature steeply angled branches while others come with broader, spreading canopy. While some trees have lignotubers, others do not.
Here are a few popular eucalyptus trees and malles you must know about:
1. Mallet Eucalyptus
This medium-sized eucalyptus tree species comes with a smooth, grey-brown trunk, a spreading canopy and glossy, lance-shaped leaves. At maturity, this tree can be up to 50 feet or more. Brown mallet is native to Western Australia and is largely cultivated for its timber.
2. Rainbow eucalyptus
One of the most aesthetically pleasing kinds of eucalyptus trees, this visual stunner is known for its multi-colored bark.
Another thing that makes Rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Deglupta) unique is the fact that it is the only eucalyptus species that don’t grow in Australia and is indigenous to the northern hemisphere.
These are the only types of eucalyptus trees that grow in rainforests. This tropical variety can grow up to be as tall as 200 (or more) feet in its native environment. However, the tree attains a height of only 100 to 125 feet when grown in the continental US.
3. Eucalyptus Globulus
Commonly known as Southern blue gum, this eucalyptus tree species is endemic to Southeastern Australia and is one of the tallest tree species in the world. Other than looking absolutely majestic, it is drought tolerant and fast-growing, making it one of the most commonly grown eucalyptus tree varieties across the globe.
Southern blue gum features a single bare trunk with a dense canopy and grows up to be as tall as 160 feet in cultivation and almost 300 feet in the wild.
4. Eucalyptus Camaldulensis (Red Gum)
Red Gum is a fast-growing eucalyptus variety which may feature multiple thick trunks and a spreading canopy. When the wood of a red gum is freshly exposed, it is bright red in color. This is where this species gets its unique name from. This medium to large kinds of eucalyptus grows best in wet regions, especially on riverbanks.
5. Snow Gum
Next up on our list of eucalyptus tree types is this species that thrives in regions with colder climates. Snow Gum (Eucalyptus Pauciflora) features crooked or twisted branches and bark, glossy dark, green leaves and lovely, white flowers.
This mallee eucalyptus variety is hardy, easy to grow and can be anywhere between 4 to 20 meters (or more in the wild) at maturity. Snow gum is typically grown as a small tree and is a great choice for windbreaks, specimen trees, shelter trees, etc.
6. Eucalyptus Marlock
This term encompasses different types of eucalyptus trees that feature dense foliage, growing not too far from the ground. Round-leaved moort, Comet Vale marlock, limestone marlock, and Bald island marlock are a few popular marlock species of eucalyptus.
7. Eucalyptus Polyanthemos
Commonly known as Silver Dollar gum, this eucalyptus tree species comes with a single trunk and broad and dense canopy with rounded leaves. The underside of the leaves gives off a silvery-white and greyish shine, giving the leaves the appearance of 50-cent pieces from certain angles.
This species is quite common in California and its leaves are widely used in floral arrangements. It is a fast-growing variety and can be as tall as 75 feet at maturity.
8. Eucalyptus silver drop
These eucalyptus tree varieties are known for its highly fragrant foliage and is a great, easy to grow option for new gardeners. It can be planted in outdoor landscapes as well as in a container and is extensively used in floral arrangements. This bushy, upright, evergreen shrub or small tree belongs to the Gunni species
9. Yellow Gum
Yellow Gum (Eucalyptus Leucoxylon) is a small to medium-sized eucalyptus that is endemic to southeastern continental Australia. It features a straight trunk with blueish grey or creamy yellow peeling bark, large, lance-shaped leaves and white, pink or red flowers.
10. Cider Gum
Cider gum (Eucalyptus Gunnii) is endemic to Tasmania and is quite cold-hardy, drought-tolerant and can adapt to various soils. These types of eucalyptus trees with single-trunk grow quite tall (anywhere between 12 to 20 meters) but can be kept as a bushy shrub or specimen tree with regular pruning. Its rounded, blue-green or silvery leaves are commonly used in floral arrangements.
11. Eucalyptus Pulchella
Eucalyptus Pulchella or White peppermint is another eucalyptus tree species of small to medium trees that is endemic to Tasmania. This elegant, ornamental variety is known for its highly fragrant foliage and can grow as a coppiced shrub or a tree.
12. Mountain Gum
Endemic to Southeastern Australia, Mountain gum (Eucalyptus Dalrympleana) features a smooth, creamy white trunk that is free from peeling ribbons of bark. It has a spreading canopy with lance-shaped, blue-green leaves and can grow up to be 70 feet or more in height.
These kinds of eucalyptus are widely used for landscaping purposes and as a specimen tree. This fast-growing eucalyptus variety is quite easy to grow and care for. Read more on eucalyptus care here.
Related: Types of Eucalyptus Houseplants
Facts and Questions
Q. Are all types of eucalyptus trees only native to Australia?
A. This plant species is almost entirely native to Australia. There are more than 700 recognized species of Eucalyptus and out of these, very few eucalyptus tree varieties naturally occur outside of Australia. This species was eventually introduced to other countries and is now among the most widely cultivated trees in the world.
Q. What is the most fragrant eucalyptus?
A. Eucalyptus Glaucesens is known to have the strongest scent out of all eucalyptus varieties. Other varieties that are known for their distinctive scent are Eucalyptus radiata, Corymbia citriodora and Eucalyptus macrorhyncha.
Q. What is the most popular eucalyptus?
A. Blue Gum (Eucalyptus globulus) or the common eucalyptus is perhaps among the most popular kinds of eucalyptus. It is native to Southern Australia but is widely cultivated all across the world.
Q. What is the difference between a gum tree and a eucalyptus tree?
A. Often used interchangeably, eucalyptus is a type of gum trees. While trees like rainbow gum, red cap gum, silver dollar gum etc are very similar to the eucalyptus group, others like sweetgum, black gum and water gum do not.
Q. Is eucalyptus a bush or a tree?
A. Eucalyptus comes under the family Myrtaceae which includes over 700 species of shrubs and trees. Most of these eucalyptus tree varieties are huge, fast-growing trees. Short and bushy species of eucalyptus are known as Mallee. Moreover, the methods of coppicing and pruning are often used for achieving eucalyptus bush plants.
Q. How close can a eucalyptus tree be to a house?
A. That largely depends on the eucalyptus tree species you are planning to grow. As a general rule, you can take the mature height of your eucalyptus and multiply it by 1.5. This will give you the planting distance.
Q. What is the average height of a eucalyptus tree?
A. Eucalyptus trees can be anywhere between 30 feet to 180 feet (or more), depending upon the kinds of eucalyptus, location and growing conditions.
Q. What is the lifespan of a eucalyptus tree?
A. Eucalyptus trees have an impressive life span. Several eucalyptus tree varieties can live up to 250 years in the wild. The lifespan of a Eucalyptus tree largely depends on eucalyptus tree species, location, environmental factors, growing conditions etc.
Q. Do eucalyptus trees have invasive roots?
A. Eucalyptus trees do not have hard-hitting roots, however, they are moderately invasive. Their roots do tend to grow at a remarkable rate.
Q. Are any types of eucalyptus trees edible?
A. No. It is not safe to ingest eucalyptus. However, tea made from dried eucalyptus leaves is popular.
Q. What kinds of eucalyptus trees have round leaves?
A. Immature eucalyptus plants often have more rounded leaves than mature ones. Other than that, here are a few eucalyptus tree varieties that sport rounded leaves even after attaining maturity namely – Silver dollar eucalyptus (almost round), Round-leaved gum, and Eucalyptus Baby Blue, and Spinning gum.