Date posted: 08 December 2017
There may soon be a pot of gold or two in Botanic Park.
We planted two Eucalyptus deglupta trees in the Park’s arboretum in autumn 2016 and, while they’re fairly small and nondescript now, they should eventually grow to develop stunning rainbow-coloured bark.
Rainbow eucalyptus (also known as Mindanao gum) hails from high-rainfall tropical forests in New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines and it’s the only eucalyptus tree that’s indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere.
It’s also one of the few species of eucalyptus that aren’t endemic to Australia.
The Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia acquired the seeds from Rainbow Eucalyptus Australia and after surviving the frosts of winter we've added four more to the Botanic Park collection and one in Adelaide Botanic Garden (see if you can find it).
It’s tough to say if and when our specimens will develop their signature rainbow bark – it’s the first time we’ve grown them in our Gardens.
But they’re a fast-growing species – widely used for pulp, paper and timber – so we’re watching them with interest.
Unfortunately the appetite for logging these trees (and loss of habitat) has resulted in Eucalyptus deglupta becoming endangered in parts of its natural range, which highlights botanic gardens’ role in ex situ conservation around the world.
If the first two trees grow successfully we may look at planting more in the Park in the future.
We’ll let you know when we find the pots of gold.
Photo: *amelia* [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons