Eucalyptus – Australia’s Gum Tree
In Australia gum tree is the name for the eucalyptus tree. The name “eucalyptus” comes from two Greek words “eu” and “kalyptos” that mean “well-covered.” There are nearly 500 kinds of eucalyptus. Eucalypti are tall trees and some of them can be more than 90 meters tall.
Eucalypti have long, thin leaves that contain an oil with a strong smell. Eucalyptus small flowers may be white, yellow, pink and red. Surprisingly, the eucalyptus flower has no petals: it is completely covered with stamens. The flowers produce a large amount of nectar, which is a food source for birds and insects, as well as for bats and opossums. Many varieties of trees do not bloom for a long time.
The trees originally grew only in Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Now they are popular in the warmer parts of the Americas and Europe and in northern Africa. In Europe, eucalyptus first appeared in France in the XVIII century and over the next century it was spread in many tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Europe, Africa and America. It was planted in wetlands with an unhealthy climate. Eucalyptus changes the landscape, drains the soil, lowers the water table, heals the swampy valleys. Wherever it grows, mosquitoes disappear. Often eucalyptus is called a living factory of phytoncides. It is noticed that the bees that collect the nectar of a blooming eucalyptus make honey with excellent healing properties.
Eucalyptus wood resists water damage and it is tough and durable. It is used for building furniture and fences. Their roots, seeds, shoots were used for food. When there was lack of water people were able to extract moisture from the roots. Eucalyptus provided a healthy climate. Therefore, it was called the “tree of life”, “the diamond of the forest”, “the tree of miracles”.
Eucalyptus oil is used in many medicines which have disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties. Decoction of eucalyptus leaves is used for the treatment of diseases of the respiratory tract, catarrhal and putrefactive bronchitis, colds, flu, abscess of the lungs, laryngitis. In addition, eucalyptus helps with bronchial asthma and acute respiratory diseases. And ointments with eucalyptus are a good remedy for arthritis, arthrosis, and other diseases of the joints and the musculoskeletal system.
Koalas eat only eucalyptus leaves and live in the eucalyptus trees.
Rainbow eucalyptus is the only species that grows wild in the Northern Hemisphere.