The species of Eucalyptus known as gunnii, or the cider gum, is a hardy, fast growing evergreen tree that is commonly used for ornamentation. This native of Australia easily adapts to a variety of soils and growing conditions.
The gunnii can grow to between 50 and 80 feet in height and have a width of between 20 to 50 feet with growth rates of up to 6 feet a year if planted in full sun. Leaves are shiny green and grow up to 6 inches long and have a strong scent similar to menthol. Bark is smooth and tan in colour.
The gunnii has flowers with both male and female reproductive organs that bloom between July and August. The white flowers are most often pollinated by bees.
A hardy tree, the gunnii can grow in sandy, loamy or clay soils as long as they are well-drained. The tree can tolerate drought and can grow in soil that is nutritionally poor. It can also survive exposure to the salt air and spray of a maritime locale.
Species of eucalyptus trees have few pests. The eucalyptus beetle is one of those few pests that can cause harm to the tree. It makes oval-shaped holes that indicate infestation.
The sap is unusually sweet, which accounts for its common name, the cider gum. It is cultivated much like maple sap by making cuts in the bark in the spring. It can be drunk as is, or fermented into a sweet cider.
Eucalyptus leaves have long been used in traditional Aboriginal medicines. Today the oil is a common ingredient in medicines used to fight coughs, colds and sore throats. The oil must be used with caution because in large doses it can affect the respiratory system and even be fatal.
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