|Distribution:||Open forests of Tasmania and southern Victoria.|
|Common Name:||Tasmanian blue gum|
|Derivation of Name:||Eucalyptus...from Greek, eu, well and calyptos, covered, referring to the cap which covers the developing flowers.
globulus...from Latin, globulus, a little button, referring to the shape of the operculum (the cap on the fruit).
|Conservation Status:||Not considered to be at risk in the wild.|
Eucalyptus globulus is one of the most widely cultivated of Australia's native trees. It can be found in parks and gardens in many parts of Australia and is well established overseas (eg. Algeria, Brazil, France, India, Spain and Portugal). In California it is so well known that many regard it as a native Californian species. However, it has become so well established that it has spread into areas of natural vegetation and is listed among the exotic pest plants of greatest concern by the California Exotic Pest Plant Council.
Photo: Bruce Champion
In the past, four sub-species were recognised differing from each other in a range of characteristics including bark , habit and flower arrangement. Many authorities now regard the sub-species as separate species in their own right, as follows:
|Eucalyptus globulus 'gumnuts', showing
3, 4, 5 and 6 valved capsules
Photo: Jessy Dowling
E.globulus is a medium to very tall forest tree which may reach 70 metres in ideal conditions but is more commonly 15-25 metres in height. In very harsh and exposed conditions it can adopt a shrubby habit. The tree has a rough, greyish bark which is shed on the upper trunk and branches in long ribbons (as noted above, the bark is shed to the base in some cases but retained at the base in others). The white flowers occur in from winter to early summer. They are followed by greyish, 3 to 6-valved fruits ("gum nuts").
The tree is popular in cultivation, particularly for its attractive, blue-grey (glaucous) juvenile foliage and fast growth. However, it is really too large for normal-sized surburban blocks and it has a strong and vigorous root system which can cause damage to buildings and underground pipes if the plant is not properly located. The leaves fruits and branches all have a strong 'eucalypt' fragrance and can be used as a 'pot pourri' in cupboards and drawers.
E.globulus has an open textured wood with distinct growth rings. The timber is strong and durable and has been used for a variety of purposes including railway sleepers, piles, paper making, oil and honey. The tree coppices well and has been used for fuel. The volatile oil content is relatively low but that hasn't prevented substantial oil harvesting from the species, particularly in Spain and Portugal. The oil is pale yellow in colour and is used in perfumery and in soap making.
Propagation is from seed which germinates readily.