Scientific Name: Eucalyptus spp
Folk Names: Gum tree, iron bark, or stringy bark (depending on bark type)
- Illyarrie: Eucalyptus erythrocorys
- Jarrah: Eucalyptus marginata
- Karri: Eucalyptus diversicolor
- Marri: Corymbia calophylla (previously E. calophylla)
Moon Phase: New moon
Parts Used: Leaves, gum, essential oil
Magical Properties: Health, cleansing, protection, clarity, exorcism, insight, hex-breaking
- Ring blue candles with eucalyptus leaves and burn for healing vibrations.
- Hang a branch of eucalyptus leaves over the sickbed or in the sickroom, or add a few leaves to flowers sent to the afflicted.
Substitutions: Melaleuca, camphor, lavender
Main species used: Blue gum (Eucalyptus globules) and Lemon-scented gum (Eucalyptus citriodora)
Part Used: Leaves
Extraction Method: Steam distillation
Flash Point: 44°C
Perfume Note: Top/middle
Scent Type: Woody, citrus (l)
Scent Description: Camphoraceous, woody, and minty; with lemon/citronella tones (l)
Active Constituents: Eucalyptol (1,8-cineole)
Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and helps with congestion and mild respiratory issues.
- Should not be used on or around children under 6, use with extreme caution with children under 12: can result in suffocation due to paralysing of autonomic nervous system functions.
- Not safe for use for folks with epilepsy/seizure disorders or high blood pressure.
- May cause skin irritation and sensitisation, dilute double for topical application.
- Sensitising: should be used in moderation, and not for more than 2 weeks consecutively.
- Toxic to cats.
- Cough suppressant
- Respiratory anti-inflammatory
Active constituents: Eucalyptol (1,8-cineole)
- Commonly used in cough lollies, lozenges, ointments, and inhalants for treating colds and flus.
Indigenous Medicinal Uses (of various species):
- The leaves of all south-west WA species were crushed and used as antibacterial poultices for healing wounds.
- The leaves were crushed and held under the nose, or used in steam pits, to relieve congestion.
- The gum was ground and used as an ointment for sores. The gum was also eaten to relieve dysentery.
- Eucalyptus can be toxic when consumed, or applied topically in large quantities, and children are particularly susceptible.
Eucalyptus is a popular plant for timber, as they’re highly resistant to decay, as well as paper production, charcoal, and cellulose extraction (eg for making bio-glitter and bio-fuels).
They are also commonly used for essential oil, dye, as windbreaks, to reduce erosion, and to lower the water table.
Eucalyptus is also frequently used in cleaning, both in commercial cleaning and laundry products, and as a solvent for removing grease and sticky residues.
- Leaves were used as bedding.
- Eucalyptus branches, hollowed out by termites, are used to make didgeridoos.
- Used in dental products for cleansing and freshening qualities.
- The soothing, cooling properties of eucalyptus oil make it popular for use in massage.
- Eucalyptus is used to fragrance soaps, detergents, lotions, and perfumes, due to its clean aroma.
There are over 700 species of Eucalyptus, in the tribe Eucalypteae (which contains 100-ish other species in another 6 genera)most of which are native to Australia.
Type: Evergreen trees, mallees, or shrubs
Plant size: Up to 100m
Bark: Can be either smooth, fibrous, hard, or stringy
Leaves: Glossy or waxy green lance-shaped leaves, which generally hang downwards
Flowers: Petals/sepals form a cap (operculum) which detaches to reveal ‘flowers’ of numerous fluffy stamens - usually in white, cream, yellow, pink, or red
Fruit: Woody, cone-shaped “gumnuts”, which open to release narrow, 1mm-long, yellow-brown seeds
Etymology: The name Eucalyptus is derived from the Greek words eu (“well”) and kalypto (“to cover”), referring to the operculum covering the flower buds.
The common name “gum tree” refers to the excessive kino/gum they exude when the bark is broken.
In the Garden
Light: Bright light
- Do not stake young plants, as it discourages strong root growth.
- Minimal care required, except occasional watering until established.
- Leaf litter is a fire hazard, due to the high oil content.