Rainbow eucalyptus: the stunning, colorful tree that looks like art
Imagine walking in a forest and seeing Eucalyptus trees — unmistakable with their astringent fragrance — so colorful you’d have to assume you’d stumbled upon a sight-specific art installation.
As rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) sheds its bark, it reveals a neon green inner layer. Over time, as this layer is exposed to air, it ages into different colors—bright reds, oranges, blues, pinks and purples. The different colors appear as different layers fall off, while other exposed areas begin aging. This process creates a spectacular visual, resembling a multi-colored crayon scratch drawing, covered with black crayon that is then scraped away to reveal the multi-colors underneath.
Rainbow Eucalyptus is the only species of eucalyptus native to the Northern Hemisphere. Found mainly in the Philippines, New Guinea and Indonesia, it thrives in tropical forests that receive a lot of rain, which also makes it the only species of eucalyptus that grows in rainforests. The tree grows to 250 feet (76 m) tall in its natural environment. In the United States, rainbow eucalyptus grows in frost-free climates found in Hawaii and parts of southern California, Texas, and Florida. However, in the continental United States, the tree only grows to a height of 100 to 125 feet (30 to 38 m).
Also Known As Rainbow Gum
Also known as the Mindanao gum or rainbow gum, the rainbow eucalyptus has a high commercial value for a product that is actually colorless: its thin layers of bark are an excellent source for pulpwood, the main ingredient in white paper. It is a dominant species in pulpwood plantations, as they are naturally resistant to pest and disease issues, and are incredibly fast growers — gaining up to three feet per year.
The tree produces white flowers and has moderately wide, evergreen leaves. The leaves contain glands that produce an aromatic oil. Despite its unmistakable fragrance, however, it does not produce as much oil that other eucalyptus species are well known for. And that’s okay, since this tree is a visual stunner!
Some Interesting Rainbow Eucalyptus Facts
- The rainbow eucalyptus is a very tall perennial tree native to some South East Asia islands, including some parts of Indonesia,
- Philippines and New Guinea, and it is the only eucalyptus tree native to the Northern Hemisphere.
- The ‘rainbow eucalyptus’ is also known as ‘rainbow gum’, ‘Bagras eucalyptus’ and ‘Mindanao gum’, and its common name refers to its rainbow coloured trunk.
- Rainbow eucalyptus trees have the scientific name Eucalyptus deglupta and are from the family Myrtaceae, the family of myrtles.
- The bark of a rainbow eucalyptus will shed at different rates throughout the year, generally in strips that reveal a green trunk that changes colour the longer it is exposed, causing the tree trunk to become beautifully multicoloured, with colours of brown, green, maroon, blue, orange and purple.
- Rainbow eucalyptus trees are often used for decoration or landscaping among recreational facilities and gardens.
- Rainbow eucalyptus trees are commonly grown in plantations to be a source of pulpwood, which is used to make paper in some countries, and they are also used as a hardwood timber for furniture and other purposes.
Rainbow eucalyptus trees grow to be 30 to 75 metres (100 to 246 feet) in height.
- Rainbow eucalyptus trees are not frost resistant, and they grow best in full sun, in warm tropical climates, and prefer moist soil conditions.
- Rainbow eucalyptus flowers are small white coloured blossoms with numerous stamens, that are typical of eucalyptus species.
- Rainbow eucalyptus trees are commonly grown in Hawaii, where they were introduced in 1929.