Eucalyptus globulus

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Tasmanian bluegum
Eucalyptus globulus (15345095225).jpg
Flowers and leaves of E. globulus.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Eucalyptus
E. globulus
Binomial name
Eucalyptus globulus
E. globulus.JPG

Eucalyptus globulus, known as the Tasmanian bluegum[1] or Southern blue gum,[2] is an evergreen tree, one of the most widely cultivated trees native to Australia. They typically grow from 30–55 m (98–180 ft) tall. The tallest currently known specimen in Tasmania is 90.7 m (298 ft) tall.[3] There are historical claims of even taller trees, the tallest being 101 m (331 ft).[4] The natural distribution of the species includes Tasmania and southern Victoria (particularly the Otway Ranges and southern Gippsland). There are also isolated occurrences on King Island and Flinders Island in Bass Strait and on the summit of the You Yangs near Geelong.

There are naturalised non-native occurrences in Spain and Portugal, and other parts of southern Europe incl. Cyprus, southern Africa, New Zealand, western United States (California), Hawaii, Macaronesia,[5] Chile, and the Caucasus (Western Georgia).[6]

Related species[edit]

Many botanists treat the Tasmanian blue gum as a subspecies of a broader species concept. This broader E. globulus includes the following subspecies:

  • E. globulus subsp. globulus = E. globulus - Tasmanian blue gum
  • E. globulus subsp. bicostata = E. bicostata - Southern blue gum, Eurabbie, Victorian blue gum
  • E. globulus subsp. maidenii= E. maidenii - Maiden's gum
  • E. globulus subsp. pseudoglobulus = E. pseudoglobulus - Gippsland blue gum, Victorian Eurabbie

The broader E. globulus concept is supported by the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research,[7] the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne[8] and the Tasmanian Herbarium,[9] but not by Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney[10] where the four taxa are considered distinct species.

See also Sydney Blue Gum


The bark sheds often, peeling in large strips. The broad juvenile leaves are borne in opposite pairs on square stems. They are about 6 to 15 cm long and covered with a blue-grey, waxy bloom, which is the origin of the common name "blue gum". The mature leaves are narrow, sickle-shaped and dark shining green. They are arranged alternately on rounded stems and range from 15–35 cm (5.9–13.8 in) in length. The buds are top-shaped, ribbed and warty and have a flattened operculum (cap on the flower bud) bearing a central knob. The cream-coloured flowers are borne singly in the leaf axils and produce copious nectar that yields a strongly flavoured honey. The fruits are woody and range from 1.5–2.5 cm (0.59–0.98 in) in diameter. Numerous small seeds are shed through valves (numbering between 3 and 6 per fruit) which open on the top of the fruit. It produces roots throughout the soil profile, rooting several feet deep in some soils.

The plant was first described by the French botanist Jacques Labillardière in his publications Relation du Voyage à la Recherche de la Pérouse (1800) and Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen (1804).[11][12] The author collected specimens at Recherche Bay during the d'Entrecasteaux expedition in 1792.[13]

The d'Entrecasteaux expedition made immediate use of the species when they discovered it, the timber being used to improve their oared boats.[13] The Tasmanian blue gum was proclaimed as the floral emblem of Tasmania on 27 November 1962. The species name is from the Latin globulus, a little button, referring to the shape of the operculum.


Large blue gum eucalyptus in Pleasanton, California, 46.5 m (153 ft) in height and 10.5 m (34 ft) in circumference.

Blue gum is one of the most extensively planted eucalypts. Its rapid growth and adaptability to a range of conditions is responsible for its popularity. It is especially well-suited to countries with a Mediterranean-type climate, but also grows well in high altitudes in the tropics.[14]

It comprises 65% of all plantation hardwood in Australia with approximately 4,500 km2 (1,100,000 acres) planted.[15] The tree is widely cultivated elsewhere in the world. It is primarily planted as a pulpwood, and also as an important fuelwood in many countries.[citation needed]

Blue gums have historically been used as street trees but are now regarded as unsuitable by many municipalities due to their rapid growth and mature size.[citation needed]

In California, thousands of E. globulus were planted from the late 1800s onward, notably by the ranch owners as windrows to protect citrus groves from the harsh Santa Ana winds, particularly in Orange County. With the decline and eventual disappearance of the citrus business and rapid suburbanisation of the area, the surviving E. globulus became increasingly seen as an important part of the suburban landscape and are currently protected by various city ordinances.[citation needed]

In circa 1860 Francis Cook planted the tree on Monserrate Palace, his property at Sintra in Portugal and within twenty years it had attained the height of 100 m and a circumference of 5 m. By 1878 the tree ″... had spread from one end of Portugal to the other″.[citation needed] In 1878 the tree was also planted, partly on Cook's recommendation, in Galway, Ireland to reclaim ″... useless bog land″.[16]

E. globulus begun to be planted as plantations in Los Lagos and Los Ríos regions of Chile in the 1990s.[17] However at these latitudes around the 40th parallel south the tree is at the southern border of the climatic conditions where it can grow, hence good growth in this part of southern Chile requires good site selection such as sunny north-facing slopes.[17] Some of these plantations grow on red clay soil.[17]



Blue gum timber is yellow-brown, fairly heavy, with an interlocked grain, and is difficult to season.[18] It has poor lumber qualities due to growth stress problems, but can be used in construction, fence posts and poles.[19]


Essential oil[edit]

Eucalyptus globulus essential oil in clear glass vial

The leaves are steam distilled to extract eucalyptus oil. E. globulus is the primary source of global eucalyptus oil production, with China being the largest commercial producer.[20][21] The oil has therapeutic, perfumery, flavoring, antimicrobial and biopesticide properties.[22][23][24] Oil yield ranges from 1.0-2.4% (fresh weight), with cineole being the major isolate. E. globulus oil has established itself internationally because it is virtually phellandrene free, a necessary characteristic for internal pharmaceutical use.[25] In 1870, Cloez identified and ascribed the name "eucalyptol" — now more often called cineole — to the dominant portion of E. globulus oil.[26]

Herb tea[edit]

Tasmanian blue gum leaves are used as an herbal tea.[27]


Blue gum flowers are considered a good source of nectar and pollen for bees.


E. globulus bark contains quinic, dihydroxyphenylacetic and caffeic acids, bis(hexahydroxydiphenoyl (HHDP))-glucose, galloyl-bis(HHDP)-glucose, galloyl-HHDP-glucose, isorhamentin-hexoside, quercetin-hexoside, methylellagic acid (EA)-pentose conjugate, myricetin-rhamnoside, isorhamnetin-rhamnoside, mearnsetin, phloridzin, mearnsetin-hexoside, luteolin and a proanthocyanidin B-type dimer, digalloylglucose and catechin.[28] The hydrolyzable tannins tellimagrandin I, eucalbanin C, 2-O-digalloyl-1,3,4-tri-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose, 6-O-digalloyl-1,2,3-tri-O-galloyl-β-D-glucose, as well as gallic acid and (+)-catechin can also be isolated.[29] Tricetin is a rare flavone aglycone found in the pollen of members of the Myrtaceae, subfamily Leptospermoideae, such as E. globulus.[30]

Environmental weed[edit]

It was introduced to California in the mid-19th century, partly in response to the Southern Pacific Railroad's need for timber to make railroad ties, and is prominent in many parks in San Francisco and throughout the state. Naturalists, ecologists, and the United States National Park Service consider it an invasive species due to its ability to quickly spread via seeds and displace native plant communities, while local authorities, especially many fire departments across California consider it to be a major fire hazard,[31][32][33] although the United States Department of Agriculture does not list it among its "Invasive and Noxious plants" list in California.[34] Due to these factors, programs across the state of California have been established to remove all eucalyptus growth, and restore native biomes in certain park areas, such as on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, and in the hills of Oakland, California.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Eucalyptus globulus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 25 January 2015. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ Giant Trees Consultative Committee Archived 16 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Lewin, D. W. 1906: The Eucalypti Hardwood Timbers of Tasmania
  5. ^ "Eucalyptus globulus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  6. ^ ka:ევკალიპტი ევკალიპტი
  7. ^ "Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus". Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  8. ^ "A Census of the Vascular Plants of Victoria". Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009.
  9. ^ "The Tasmanian Herbarium". Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
  10. ^ "Flora of New South Wales". Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
  11. ^ "Eucalyptus globulus Labill". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
  12. ^ IPNI citation: Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Voy. i. 153. t. 13; Nov. Holl. Pl. ii. 121.
  13. ^ a b Mulvaney, John (c. 2006). "4. Botanising". 'The axe had never sounded': place, people and heritage of Recherche Bay, Tasmania (Online ed.). Australian National University. ISBN 978-1-921313-21-9. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  14. ^ Hillis, W.E., Brown, A.G., Eucalypts for Wood Production, Academic Press, 1984, p20, ISBN 0-12-348762-5
  15. ^ Australia's Plantations 2006 (PDF). Bureau of Rural Sciences. Retrieved 24 January 2007.
  16. ^ "The Eucalyptus for the West of England". The Cornishman (16). 31 October 1878. p. 5.
  17. ^ a b c Geldres, Edith; Schlatter, Juan E. (2004). "Crecimiento de las plantaciones de Eucalyptus globulussobre suelos rojo arcillosos de la provinciad Osorno, Décima Región" [Growth of Eucalyptus globulus plantations on red clay soils in the Province of Osorno, 10th Region, Chile] (PDF). Bosque (in Spanish). 25 (1): 95–101. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  18. ^ Cribb, A.B. & J.W., Useful Wild Plants in Australia, Collins 1982, p25 ISBN 0-00-636397-0
  19. ^ Index of Species Information, Eucalyptus globulus
  20. ^ Edited by Boland, D.J., Brophy, J.J., and A.P.N. House, Eucalyptus Leaf Oils - Use, Chemistry, Distillation and Marketing, Inkata Press, 1991, p4.
  21. ^ Eucalyptus Oil, FAO Corporate Document Repository
  22. ^ Eucalyptus globulus Monograph, Australian Naturopathic Network
  23. ^ Eucalyptus globulus, Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants (ASGAP)"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ Young-Cheol Yang, Han-Young Choi, Won-Sil Choi, J. M. Clark, and Young-Joon Ahn, Ovicidal and Adulticidal Activity of Eucalyptus globulus Leaf Oil Terpenoids against Pediculus humanus capitis (Anoplura: Pediculidae), J. Agric. Food Chem., 52 (9), 2507 -2511, 2004.[1]
  25. ^ Edited by Boland, D.J., Brophy, J.J., and A.P.N. House, Eucalyptus Leaf Oils - Use, Chemistry, Distillation and Marketing, Inkata Press, 1991, p3., & pp78-82.
  26. ^ Boland, D.J., Brophy, J.J., and A.P.N. House, Eucalyptus Leaf Oils, 1991, p6 ISBN 0-909605-69-6
  27. ^ Eucalyptus Globulus Labill Leaf Pieces Tea
  28. ^ Santos, SA; Freire, CS; Domingues, MR; Silvestre, AJ; Pascoal Neto, C (2011). "Characterization of phenolic components in polar extracts of Eucalyptus globulus Labill. Bark by high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 59 (17): 9386–93. doi:10.1021/jf201801q. PMID 21761864.
  29. ^ Hou, Ai-Jun; Liu, Yan-Ze; Yang, Hui; Lin, Zhong-Wen; Sun, Han-Dong (2000). "Hydrolyzable Tannins and Related Polyphenols fromEucalyptus globulus". Journal of Asian Natural Products Research. 2 (3): 205–12. doi:10.1080/10286020008039912. PMID 11256694.
  30. ^ The Unique Occurrence of the Flavone Aglycone Tricetin in Myrtaceae Pollen. Maria G. Campos, Rosemary F. Webby and Kenneth R. Markham, Z. Naturforsch, 2002, 57c, pages 944-946 (article)
  31. ^ "Conflagration Overview". 20 October 1991. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  32. ^ Jim Staats (13 September 2008). "Eucalyptus tree removal riles Tamalpais Valley - Marin Independent Journal". Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  33. ^ California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) Invasive Plant Inventory 2006
  34. ^ "California State Noxious Weeds List | USDA PLANTS". 20 October 2003. Retrieved 18 August 2013.

External links[edit]