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Flower Facts: All About Eucalyptus

Flower Facts: All About Eucalyptus

posted: 2021-03-18 15:30:00 +0800

Outside were the eucalyptus trees, like lace against the sky. If it were only possible to lie against them, light and bodiless, sink into their softness, deeper and deeper, lost in them, buried, never come back again....”

-Shirley Jackson, “The Road Through the Wall”

The humble eucalyptus may look like just another tree branch but the eucalyptus has long been used for its medical properties and is one of the most popular flower fillers used by florists. This fascinating plant has a rich history within its native country and is still a very important plant both locally and internationally.

Related: 10 Unique Flower Bouquet Fillers



Scientific Information

The eucalyptus is a genus of over 700 different species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees within the myrtle family. The eucalyptus tree is known as one of the tallest on the planet, depending on the species, the trees can reach 33 to 200 feet in height and can live around 250 years in the wild. Eucalyptus trees are also very fast growing with many reaching maturity within 10 years. Most species of eucalyptus have leaves that change throughout their life, with young plants having round leaves and mature plants having sickle-shaped leaves. The leaves of eucalyptus are very fibrous but low in nutrition and are generally toxic to most animals. Most species of eucalyptus also shed their bark at least once a year as well.

Eucalyptus trees have flowers that can bloom in white, yellow, pink or red colours. However, they don’t technically have petals as the colours that are seen as a result of a large number of stamens.

Origins and Naming

Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, Tasmania, and surrounding islands. They are most commonly known as a gum tree due to the sticky and rubbery substance it exudes when damaged.

The name eucalyptus derives from the Greek words eu- (well) and kaluptos (cover) meaning well-covered. The name refers to how the flowers of the tree are generally covered and concealed with most eucalyptus species.


The eucalyptus tree was long used and highly valued by the Aboriginals in Australia, in which they would chew the leaves due to their high water content to stay hydrated. They also used it to treat fungal conditions and heal wounds, as well as brewing the leaves for tea as a remedy for fevers.

Europeans didn’t start making collections of eucalyptus trees until the late 1700s. In 1850 the eucalyptus plant was introduced to California in hopes of creating a sustainable and renewable source of timber. Unfortunately, the plant did not grow to the same quality as it did in Australia and was eventually considered unusable for the state but the species is still found there today.

Eucalyptus has since become an important economical plant for many countries as it is used for pulpwood, firewood, and timber and more. All of the parts of the eucalyptus can also be used to make a variety of colours of dye. Eucalyptus trees are used in creating the traditional Australian instrument, the didgeridoo.

Eucalyptus oil was made in the late 1700s by distilling the oil from the leaves of the plant for a variety of antiseptic and medical uses. During the end of the 19th century, eucalyptus oil was used in England in hospitals to clean urinary catheters. Surprisingly, modern research is beginning to back up this dated practice.