Where is the eucalyptus tree located

Like kangaroos, koalas and emus, the eucalyptus trees are part of the unmistakable and unique appearance of Australia. The evergreen plants belong to the myrtle family and make up over 70% of the Australian tree population. They are the most common trees on the continent. To call it the green soul of Australia is only too obvious. Over 600 species are known. They come in the form of not particularly high bushes, but also as giants up to 100 meters high.

The Guinness Book of Records shows that the tallest tree ever felled was a king eucalyptus with a height of 132 meters. Eucalyptus grow in swamps, on rocks, in areas with much or little rainfall, and even in areas with snowfall. So they are true adapters and survivors.

 

The trunk, bark and leaves have extraordinary properties

 

The eucalyptus tree belongs to the hardwoods and is fast growing. Therefore it is an important raw material supplier for the wood, cardboard and paper industries in Australia.
The leaves are characterized by very special features. They are narrow in shape and hang almost vertically from the branches. In doing so, they turn their side edge towards the light. This minimizes water evaporation in the scorching sun of the outback and they don't dry up.

The tree sheds its leaves all year round, which ensures its own survival. The leaves contain, among other things, phenol, which, in combination with water, creates a slightly acidic solution and thus ensures that no other plants can grow in the vicinity of the tree. The leaves also contain the well-known essential eucalyptus oil, which is extracted with water vapor and is used in all kinds of products, some of which are medicinal.

The bark forms a new layer every year, so that the trunk becomes thicker and thicker over the years. In some species, the outermost layer dies and then peels off the trunk in long strips. The bark also contains the easily flammable eucalyptus oil, which in the event of a fire can cause the trunk to literally explode.

How the eucalyptus tree came to Gran Canaria

 

The worldwide distribution of some of the species of the eucalyptus tree began with the colonization of Australia by the Europeans. Today these trees can be found in most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In the 19th century, the missionary Fray Rosendo Salvado sent his family the seeds of a eucalyptus tree in a letter. In this way, the eucalyptus tree first came to Galicia in Spain. A short time later, the tree appeared in the Canary Islands.

Today there is a fairytale eucalyptus forest with four different species on La Gomera. Gran Canaria is home to the blue (Eucalyptus globulus) and red eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis). On the third largest Canary Island, the Australian tree is sometimes viewed critically. Many believe that it is pushing back the endemic flora by removing water and acidifying the surrounding soil. But it also gives the nature of Gran Canaria a special face.

Anyone who goes on excursions in Gran Canaria will encounter these giants in many places. The eucalyptus trees, which are up to 60 meters high, stretch their crowns wide and invite you to take a rest in their shade.

Who defies the fire

 

One of the most outstanding properties of the eucalyptus tree is its fire resistance. These plants not only defy the regular Australian bush fires, they even use them for species conservation. The continental history of Australia is shaped by fire. Many plant species have adapted to it over millions of years of evolution. The eucalyptus tree even promotes the fires thanks to the oil it contains in the bark.

Inside the wooden trunk there are seedlings that are connected to the bark by strands. When there is a fire, the heat activates certain hormones that awaken the seedlings to life via the strands. This creates young buds that sprout on the trunk and branches after the fire and quickly restore the tree to its green splendor. In large eucalyptus trees, the bark can burn down to two centimeters without endangering the seedlings.

The golden eucalyptus tree

 

A few years ago, scientists discovered another quirk in some species of the eucalyptus tree. A special X-ray method was used to detect gold particles in leaves, bark and branches. The deep-reaching roots obviously suck up the precious mineral when they absorb water and transport it upwards. The researchers found the greatest density of the particles, which are no larger than a fifth the thickness of a human hair, in the leaves.

They suspect that the gold is poisonous for the tree and that it therefore passes it on to the extreme extremities. With the regular shedding of the leaves, the tree then gets rid of this metal again. The researchers hope to be able to use these newly acquired knowledge for the gentle discovery of raw materials. Because in this way copper or zinc would also be detectable and expensive and environmentally harmful drilling would no longer be necessary.