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  • Botany


The eucalyptus is a very beautiful tree with a straight, smooth greyish trunk and raised branches. Its rapid growth, aromatic insect-repellent odour and ability to absorb humidity are the reasons it was introduced to the Mediterranean region, in order to improve some marshy areas.

Eucalyptus bleu
Blue gum. © DR


This tree (Eucalyptus globulus), from the Myrtaceae family, is also called the "blue gum", "Tasmanian blue gum" and "Southern blue gum".

Botanical description

This tree can reach 30 to 40 metres in height. The bark of its trunk and its branches is a grey-brown colour and tends to naturally shed in strips. Its leaves, pleasantly fragrant, are tough and evergreen, opposed and oval when they are young, then elongated as they age. Its flowers have many stamina that can be white, cream, yellow, pink or red. Its fruit appear in the form of ovoid and woody capsules of about 1 centimetre, which contain many tiny seeds.

Eucalyptus bleu
Blue gum. © Forest & Kim Starr licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported


The word "eucalyptus" comes from the Greek "eu " (which means "good") and the word "kalypto " which means "cover", because the petals and sepals of this species are fused. This tree comes from Australia, Tasmania and Malaysia. It was introduced into France in 1828. It is found in Mediterranean regions, particularly in Corsica, as well as in other areas further north.

Growing conditions

Theeucalyptus thrives in acidic and humid soil. It can tolerate cold temperatures up to -12°C but the prolonged frost of 1985 still killed many eucalyptus trees in the South of France.


Due to its rapid growth, the eucalyptus is a species often used for anti-erosion reafforestation. Its wood is not very good for joinery as it cracks, but it is used in the paper industry. Its red resin is used as polish. The essence of its leaves has disinfectant properties and is also used as a respiratory decongestant. In the past, its leaves were boiled in classrooms during the winter.

Author: Michel Caron

Eucalyptus globulus. © Tony Rodd/Flickr, Licence Creative Common (by-nc-sa 2.0) Eucalyptus globulus. © Tony Rodd/Flickr, Licence Creative Common (by-nc-sa 2.0)

Eucalyptus - 3 Photos


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