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Gum Trees and Eucalypts

Family Myrtaceae Genus Eucalyptus

Gum Trees & Eucalypts
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Gum Trees and Eucalypts
Among the many symbols that are quintessentially Australian, the native “gum trees” with their unique scent and leaf shape must rank among them. There are about 800 species of eucalyptus, with about 12 species that occur naturally outside of Australia, and of that only 2 species not found in Australia. One of these are Eucalyptus deglupta, which is found in the northern hemisphere, as well as in the southern Philippines, New Guinea and parts of Indonesia.

The common usage of the term “eucalypt” was a term applied to the genus Eucalyptus. With recent advances in classification methods, many eucalyptus have now lost the “Eucalpytus” part of their name, being re-classified into the closely related genera Angophora and Corymbia. The red flowering gum from Western Australia, formerly E. ficifolia, is now Corymbia ficifolia, with the lemon-scented gum, E. citriodora, now named C. citriodora. As botanist continue their work, there will no doubt be many more changes, although they will all no doubt, still belong to the family Myrtaceae.
Common names
Although many people call eucalpyts “gum trees”, even this is strictly not correct. The term “gum” actually refers to smooth-barks. There are in fact many common names applied to the so called “eucalypt” group, such as ash, bangalay, blackbutt, bloodwood, box, coolibah, grey gum, ironbark, mahogany, mallee, messmate, peppermint, red gum, ribbon gum, scribbly gum, stringy bark and tallowwood.

In more scientific terms the genera Eucalyptus include the Gums, Corymbia include the Bloodwoods and Ghost Gums, and Angophora include the Apples.

Growth, Safety and Widow Makers
As they grow, many eucalypts have a tendency for their lower branches to drop off. Some species are more prone to this than others, such as the lemon-scented gum, E. citriodora, also known as the “widow maker”. With the drought being experienced in different parts of Australia, more eucalypts in these areas are dropping branches as they struggle to survive the drought. And if rain and winds are add to the environment, the chances are more trees will be blown over. Care should be taken and consideration given to parking and camping under trees of this nature.

 Source: see links below.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus Angophora
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Gum Trees and Eucalypts • Other links

Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants
• The Eucalypt Page.
Australian National Botanic Gardens
• An Introduction to the Eucalypts.
CSU Stanislaus University Library
• An interesting article on The Eucalyptus of California.
Currency Creek Arboretum Eucalypt Research
• CURRENCY CREEK SA 5214 • Ph: +61 8 8387 3656 • Mobile: 0413 214 303 • Email
• Currency Creek Arboretum (CCA) is a private specialist eucalypt research arboretum located near Currency Creek, south of Adelaide in South Australia. Established by Dean Nicolle in 1992, the site was purposely chosen for a eucalypt research arboretum. Research currently and able to be undertaken at CCA include eucalypt systematics, taxonomy, ecology, physiology, cultivation and conservation. The site also has a number of images.
• A NSW plant information network system of the Botanic Gardens Trust: EucaLink A Web Guide to the Eucalypts.
Viridans Biological Databases
• Check out their section on the Victorian Eucalypts.
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