In order to highlight the beauty, diversity, and exceptional qualities of our common planet Earth, One Earth’s “Species of the Week” series spotlights a relatively obscure and unique species every Wednesday.
Imagine traveling through a forest and coming across brightly colored Eucalyptus trees that are so distinctive due to their pungent scent that you would have to believe you had stumbled upon an art work.
The bright green inner layer of the rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) is seen as the bark sheds. Bright reds, oranges, blues, pinks, and purples are some of the colors that develop over time when this layer ages and is exposed to air. As various layers are peeled off, other hues emerge, while other exposed parts start to age. This procedure produces an amazing image that resembles a multicolored crayon scratch drawing that has been coated in black crayon and then has had the black crayon scraped away to show the multicolored crayon underneath.
The only eucalyptus tree native to the northern hemisphere is the rainbow variety. It is the only eucalyptus tree that can grow in a rainforest, and it is mostly found in the Philippines, New Guinea, and Indonesia. It also flourishes in tropical woods that receive a lot of rain. In its natural habitat, the tree can reach a huge 250 feet (76 meters) in height. Rainbow eucalyptus can be found in the US in Hawaii, as well as the southernmost regions of California, Texas, and Florida, where there are no frosts. However, the tree only reaches heights of 100 to 125 feet in the US mainland (30-38 m.).
The rainbow eucalyptus, also known as Mindanao gum or rainbow gum, has a high commercial value for a substance that is actually colorless because its thin layers of bark are a great source for pulpwood, the primary component of white paper. Since they are extremely fast growers, gaining up to three feet per year, and naturally resistant to pest and disease challenges, they are a dominant species in pulpwood plantations.
The tree has somewhat wide, evergreen leaves and white blossoms. Glands in the leaves produce an aromatic oil. Despite having a distinctive scent, it does not yield as much oil as other eucalyptus species are renowned for. And that’s okay since this tree is so gorgeous to look at!