Walks on the Wild Side, Fall-Winter, 2008-9

November 19, 2008
Marshall Canyon
2. Three eucalypts and their bark

Graham's words: "Today we saw three eucalypt species (in Australia the word eucalyptus is almost always shortened to eucalypt), these being E. globulus, E. sideroxylon, and one that I could not identify for certain. E. globulus, the Tasmanian Blue Gum, is one of two widely propagating eucalypt species in California, the other being E. camaldulensis, the River Red Gum. It’s interesting that these two grow side by side in many places in California, but originate from highly disparate parts of Australia, one being from the southeast of Tasmania, the other widespread throughout inland Australia, especially along water courses."

Tasmanian blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus, on Marshall Canyon Trail. Photo by Graham

Graham's words: "E. globulus has some of the strongest smelling foliage that I know of. There was mention today about the individual smell of the various eucalypts. Yes, that is characteristic, not just of the leaves, but of the flowers, too. In Australia, even in a typical grocery store, it's common to find honey from a range of eucalypts. For example, it would be typical to find blue gum, yellow box, ironbark, and others, - not always definitive names in a botanical sense, but certainly all with distinct flavors."

Tasmanian blue gum. Mature alternate leaves on the left, juvenile opposite leaves on the right. Click on the photo for more information.

Graham's words: "This morning we mentioned the nature of juvenile leaves, which on eucalypts are opposite, whereas adult leaves are alternate. On some eucalypts, juvenile leaves persist throughout the tree’s life, with the adult leaves either absent or very few. A notable species of this kind in California is E. pulverulenta, a small tree extensively cultivated for cut foliage in flower arrangements; the small, silvery-grey, heart-shaped foliage is what you usually see when you buy “eucalyptus” at a florist shop."

Blue gum bark pattern. Click on the photo for more information.

Red ironbark, E. sideroxylon. Photo by Graham.

Pretty pink flowers

Bark oozing gum

"As the tree ages the bark becomes perfused with kino that oxidizes to black and cements a rough, fissured bark that never peels or drops litter. The wood is heavy, red in color, and hard, considered ... to be as hard as iron." Kino is the reddish-brown dried gummy exudation from any of several trees of the genus Eucalyptus. We saw it on the red ironbark. Click photos for more information.

Unidentified Eucalyptus species. Photos by Graham.

Graham's words: "Then there is the question of identifying the one with the hanging ribbons of bark. I can’t say for certain, but it looks like E. viminalis, known as Manna Gum, or Ribbon Gum. It is widespread in southeastern Australia, where its leaves are one of the most common foods for koalas. It is well-known in California."

When I (Jane writing now) recall this tree, I have a picture in my mind of the branches as massive outstretched arms with folds of draperies hanging from them, so thick were the ribbons of bark that have fallen from the trunk over the years.

More about eucalyptus ... there's a huge amount of information on the web. These are some I enjoyed for various reasons.

“If you calypt us, we WILL calypt you." ~ Oscar Wilde on eucalyptus from a satire of a Wikipedia page, very funny

The Eucalyptus of California: Seeds of Good or Seeds of Evil? about history in California

Tree Wars The Secret Life of Eucalyptus about the vandalism, insects and diseases facing eucalypts in San Diego

GIT's Eucalyptology Topics has excellent diagrams

What we saw:


1. Three Black and White Birds; their sounds, their silhouettes

2. Three Eucalypts and their bark

3. Fall colors from members of the Anacardiaceae family with two sets of look-alikes

Tail End

original pages created November 19, 2008
text on this page is Copyright © 2008-2021 Jane Strong
images on this page attributed to Graham are Copyright © 2008-2021 Graham Bothwell

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