| Eucalyptus |
| Eucalyptus globulus|
| Uses: Medicinal/Aromatic/Industrial
|| Duration: Perennial (hardy in zones 9-10) |
| When to Sow: Anytime
|| Ease of Germination: Moderate |
Famous "gum" tree of Australia, and source of eucalyptus oil used in medicine and perfumery. Also called "bluegum" from the blue tone of the leaves when the tree is young. It is one of the tallest trees in the world, growing up to 90 m (300ft). But despite its large size outdoors, it is easy to maintain at a manageable size indoors with occasional pruning. The oil distilled from the leaves is a powerful antiseptic, especially in the respiratory tract, killing pathogenic bacteria and reducing mucus secretion and congestion. Cough drops and sore throat lozenges made with eucalyptus oil are popular and very effective. When plants are grown indoors oil vapours released by the leaves help to deodorize the air. In Australia, the flowers provide the main source of nectar and pollen for the honey bee industry, and the leaves are one of the preferred foods of the koala bear. A favourite tall tale in Australia is the “drop bear” – an invention of campers in the dry season when gum trees tend to drop entire branches, often hitting campers underneath. According to the tale as told by the unfortunate victims, man-eating koalas leap out of the trees and drop onto people’s heads.