This is the primary eucalyptus that earned a bad reputation for all other eucalyptus. Blue gum, Eucalyptus globulus, arrived in California in the 1850s, and grew on plantations for timber. As its timber proved to be of inferior quality, and demand for wood pulp dwindled, the plantations succumbed to abandonment. Feral trees naturalized into adjacent areas.
Although once a common timber and wood pulp commodity, and effective as windbreaks for agricultural purposes, blue gum was never popular for landscapes. Those that inhabit urban or suburban situations were generally there prior to urban expansion around them. They are far too massive, messy and combustible, and inhibit the growth of other plants.
Mature blue gum trees can be significantly taller than a hundred feet, with elegantly high branched form. Limbs that fall freely from such heights are very dangerous. The aromatic foliage is evergreen. Adult leaves are stereotypically lanceolate and curved. Silvery blue juvenile leaves are blunt, sessile (lacking petioles) and more aromatic than adult foliage. Strips of smooth tan bark shed to reveal paler bark.
2 thoughts on “Blue Gum”
I never saw one of these until I visited California the first time in my late twenties. I was running around like the horticultural equivalent of Helen Keller (but without Anne Sullivan because the friend I was visiting had zero affinity for plants). It was only from prior blogs of yours that I learned there were a bunch of varieties of these as well….
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Yes, it is a remarkably variable genus. We have three at work, cinerea, pulverulenta and sideroxylon, and should be adding citriodora soon. Each is so very different from the others. Brent plants many Eucalyptus as street trees in Los Angeles because they do not need water once established. Blue gum is the unpopular one, and is very difficult to accommodate. I have one here that I pollard for the aromatic juvenile foliage. I really do not know where to plant it though. I do not want it to get out of control.