’ll never forget standing in a grove of Tasmanian blue gums on one of my visits to California. Surrounded by this exquisite variety of eucalyptus, I exhilarated in its fragrance and majestic beauty. I still remember how the floor of this small forest was covered with the peeled bark ribbons, the natural result of a highly unique growing habit known to some members of the species.
Eucalyptus trees are indeed incredible, not only for their sheer magnificence but also for their many uses, which extend from medicine to perfume to erosion control. Most often associated with the “Land Down Under” and nearby Tasmania, today they rank among the most planted trees in the world, particularly in drier tropical and subtropical regions. Various species appear in South America, the Middle East, India, Africa, the Mediterranean, and here in North America, particularly in California and, to a lesser degree, in other areas.
Virtually all eucalyptus trees are exceptionally fast growing, with many of the species attaining incredible heights. Eucalyptus regnans, for instance, can grow to 325 feet with a 25-foot girth. At one time, Australia and the United States had a friendly rivalry going as to who had the tallest tree in the world. One report