How to Identify a Eucalyptus Tree

Written by thomas edward
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How to Identify a Eucalyptus Tree
Eucalyptus on the barby, anyone? (Koala image by Sasman from Fotolia.com)

The eucalyptus tree is an evergreen that grows wild in Australia. Koala bears live in the trees and the leaves are a primary food source for them. It is grown as a houseplant in the United States and outdoors in the Pacific Coast states. The plant can provide eucalyptus oils for medicinal purposes, like soothing swollen sinuses with hot water and oil moisturisers. It can be toxic if ingested in large amounts. It can be used as a machine oil, or as an aromatic in perfumes. The tree can be identified by a few distinct characteristics.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Eucalyptus tree
  • Magnifying glass

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Examine the leaves of the tree. Eucalyptus leaves are long, pointed and smooth with a leathery texture. Look at a leaf under a magnifying glass and the glands that secrete oil will appear throughout the leaf.

    In Australia, look for a resident Koala bear sleeping in the daytime.

    How to Identify a Eucalyptus Tree
    Long, pointed, smooth leathery leaves (koala image by Gerd Reiber from Fotolia.com)
  2. 2

    Check out the branches. The eucalyptus leaves alternate on branches of the tree on which they grow.

    How to Identify a Eucalyptus Tree
    Alternating leaves (eucalyptus image by lye from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Search carefully for flowers growing among the branches. The eucalyptus flowers look like closed cups before blossoming. There are no petals; however, you will find a number of fluffy hairs that are flower stamens. When the flower opens, it is a brilliant red.

    How to Identify a Eucalyptus Tree
    Brilliant red flowers (gum tree flowers 01 image by Ilia Artsybachev from Fotolia.com)
  4. 4

    Look over the flower cups for signs of fruit development. A eucalyptus tree has a small, woody, capsule-shaped fruit that grows until it splits open and drops seeds.

    How to Identify a Eucalyptus Tree
    Small woody capsules drop seeds (eucalyptus gumnut macro. image by mdb from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    Touch the bark and check its texture. Eucalyptus bark is stringy or flaky. Bark may be deciduous and the tree may shed off the outer layer each year.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a microscope to see additional details on the leaf.

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