Eucalyptus Trees ~

 As of June 2017 Photobucket has blacked out all my photos that I had stored there and are holding them hostage. Hopefully I can update my photos on all the posts they have ruined, over 4000 of them. 

 I’ve always enjoyed the Eucalyptus trees in California. My experience with them in my early years was driving along Highway 99 and seeing these interesting trees with their unique foliage. The most impressive thing about them was the Eucalyptus fragrance that would burst forth in the heat of the summer. I was surprised to find out that they are not native to California but were brought from Australia where they are a native plant. I took these photos one morning on my walk just outside my neighborhood in Southern California. I’m including part of a study on the Eucalyptus tree from a University in California with a link to the full study below.

 

FROM DOWN UNDER IT CAME

While traveling along the roads and highways of California, especially along  its coast and inland valleys, one will see the usual oak, pine, and scrubbrush. Yet there is another member of the plant family whose presence is dominating and charismatic. Its size is lofty; its silhouette captivating; its smell clean and antiseptic like the scent unfurling from a medicine cabinet. Many think it is a California native, but it is not. It is really an immigrant from Australia that arrived as many immigrants have in this wonderful country, surreptitiously.

It is the remarkable eucalyptus of which we speak that came from the virgin forests of that vast land down under, Australia. It is as curious as that land with its pouched animals and mysterious aborigines. Its adaptability and its hardiness can be seen in its groves which cling to the California hillsides and fill the crevices of the landscape. It is difficult to imagine what California would look like without the seemingly omnipresent eucalyptus.

It has had a checkered history though in California. At first it was a tree of promise stirring the imagination, and then later becoming a tree of disappointment and ultimately disdain. In its homeland of Australia, it was a true friend to the settler supplying material for a pioneer’s needs. Its almost mythical reputation came with the Australians to the California goldfields and with the American travelers who had seen the colossus in Australia.

In Australia, the eucalyptus has been the tree of folklore where children sing of the “kookaburra in the gum tree.” Where also children and aborigines, enjoy the sweet flakes of the manna gum. Medicine is found in its oils which has been used to cure everything from an upset stomach to a nasty laceration. Doctors and primitive cultures have both used it as a healer. The eucalyptus provided the early Australian settler materials for buildings, implements, and desperately-needed fuel. Its powers, its versatility was virtually unchallenged by anything else on the Australian continent.

The purpose of this study is to tell the story of this amazing tree and its impact on California. There is an array of literature, both scientific and historical, that gives only segments of the story. This study is an attempt to fashion those segments into a tailored narrative that has clarity and imparts information to the reader. It is by no means comprehensive. The focus is on important facts, major personalities, and key issues. The documentation is provided for further research and study of this fascinating immigrant tree.

To read more about the Eucalyptus click here.

 

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh, Kookaburra! Laugh, Kookaburra!
Gay your life must be

This is just one verse of the song…

This song was written in 1936, and introduced at a Scout Jamboree in Melbourne, Australia. In case you’re wondering, a kookaburra is an Australian bird, and a “gum tree” is what Americans know as a eucalyptus. The “gum drops” that the kookaburra eats in the song are beads of the resinous sap.

 

My sister Lana has some great photos of the Kookaburra that she took when she was in Australia. Check them out here. You can learn more about the Kookaburra by linking here.

ht: http://library.csustan.edu/bsantos/euctoc.htm

 

15 thoughts on “Eucalyptus Trees ~

  1. I think one of the most rewarding parts of road trips is seeing the different trees and vegetation. I love the change in the scenery. It never ceases to amaze me how one turn in the road can bring a whole different scene.
    Now I want to drive to California to see the trees once again.

    Hi Lovella, Come on down… 🙂

  2. Thanks for the visit yesterday & your encouraging comment. I enjoyed your post about the ‘gum tree’ and learned something new! We also have eucalyptus trees here in British Columbia (mostly on Vancouver Island). I so enjoyed seeing the different trees we came across on our recent road trip…I especially loved the Arizona sycamore tree. It is huge and has white ‘peeling’ bark.

    Judy, I didn’t realize there were Eucalyptus trees on Vancouver Island. Blessings….

  3. Dang, those are tall trees! Where I’m from trees don’t get that big!

    Hi SouthernBell, These are definately the tallest around here. They are used around agriculture fields to block the wind…

  4. a friend of mine told me that when she was young, her mom used to sow eyes on the top of her hats because the kookaburras would dive bomb the kids on their way to school sometimes – I always loved that story. They seem like merry birds, but apparently they do have a dark side!

    Hey Erika, Have any of the birds at the U dive bombed you?

  5. How neat! Those are definitely taller–bigger–everything—than the ones we have in Florida/Alabama!
    Thanks for sharing this learning experience with us!

    Hi Angie, I still haven’t made it to the Southeast. I hope to check out your landscape sometime in the future. Blessings…

  6. Rather nice to see pics of trees from ‘down under’ on your page. I’ve not heard about ‘kookies’ divebombing people. Here in Sydney (Oz) it’s the magpies that do that during their nesting season. To and from school, many kids wear plastic ice cream containers on their heads with ‘eyes’ drawn on the back of them to scare the maggies away. Someone might be able to correct me on the kookaburra one though.

    Hello from ‘down under’, I’ll have to see if Erika’s friend meant magpies instead of Kookies, (love the nickname). Would love to come to your part of the world someday.

  7. years ago when my family lived in southern california, a neighbor new to the area called these trees you-cal’-a-pea-tus trees. i think of her fondly. i love the smell of those trees.
    you are going from CA to WA for thanksgiving. we are going from WA to CA. hurray for road trips in a van. happy t-day to you.

    Hi Cindy! That’s a great pronunciation 🙂 Enjoy your roadtrip and gobble, gobble to ya!

  8. I looove Eucalyptus trees and Kookaburras!!!
    I don’t think Kookaburras dive bomb either. They do laugh just before it rains but they don’t dive bomb. The Maggies do and the terrible Plovers with spurs on their wings. They are scary! Kookaburras are more likely to hunt things and pick them up with their beaks and then smash the animal, usually a snake, mouse of lizard, on the ground to kill it before they eat it. The dive bombing is just reserved for birds protecting their nests or young and I’ve never seen a Kookaburra do this.

    You can hear the laugh of the Kookaburras here.

    [audio src="http://www.anbg.gov.au/sounds/kookaburra.mp3" /]

    & other Australian birds can be found here:

    http://www.anbg.gov.au/sounds/

    There is also a great story by May Gibbs about the wise old Kookaburra and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’s (gumnut characters) adventures in the Aussie bush.

    http://www.users.bigpond.net.au/con-nosotros/snugglepot-and-cuddlepie.html

    Miss M! Thanks so much for all this additional info. I love it especially to be able to hear the Kookaburra… I’m going to read the story later this week after my Thanksgiving busyness dies down. Blessings…

  9. Eucalyptus is lovely, and has medicinal properties, but it is bad for the California ecology. Here are just three reasons why (there are many others):

    1) Kookaburras didn’t migrate with them. Our birds, instead, go into the tree and come out with their mouths taped shut with the sap it produces. They die.

    2) When they grow here, nothing else grows under them. Not even poison oak. Eucs (blue gum) spread rapidly, and every where a new one comes up, everything under it dies.

    3) Eucs are the most susceptible of all possible flammables; they can literally shoot the burning tops of themselves half a mile, over freeways, creeks and even small rivers. Behind them people and wildlife die.

    They don’t belong here.

    Louise

  10. Louise is right. Eucalypts are beautiful… in their right place. The Australian bush regenerates through fire. Fire is essential to opening hard seed pods and bringing regrowth. The Eucalypts are cleverly designed by God to fuel this fire – isn’t God so clever?! – but in California, where you don’t have Banksias and other plants whose seed pods are opened by the intense heat of fire, Eucalypts can be damaging.

    It is also true that nothing grows underneath these giants. But this is ok for the Aussie bush in which many animals make their homes in the leaf litter.

    Introduced species are pests. I completely agree. BUt I do love these trees in Australia!

    • In fact, most native California species are even more flammable than eucalyptus. In fact, eucalyptus can help fight wind-driven fires by blocking embers.

      http://sutroforest.com/eucalyptus-myths/

      It’s also untrue that nothing grows under eucalyptus. It depends on the availability primarily of water. In wet eucalyptus forests, the understory can become so dense that its impassable.

      We wouldn’t be able to survive without introduced species. The food we eat is almost all introduced. Most of the plants in our gardens and parks are introduced.

      Unfortunately, it’s fashionable to hate eucalyptus. But they do what other trees do: Provide shade and habitat, sequester carbon, and become part of the ecosystem.

  11. I love the eucalyptus tree. we have one in our garden and I was most upset to find that my husband had cut it down to the trunk. He assures me it will grow back so we will see. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. sara from farmingfriends

  12. Louise is wrong: those are mostly myths spread by the Native Plant lobbies who want to destroy these trees and replace them with native plants. Check out this website (especially the section on Eucalyptus Myths) for more information:

    http://www.sutroforest.com

    These trees help to create a more diverse habitat in California, and replace some of the forest long since lost to farming and building.

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