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Eucalyptus teriticornis before a backdrop of Araucaria cunninghamii

Eucalytus tereticornis is a stately and distinctive tree with hard red heartwood timber. It is native to the coastal valley flats of eastern Australia.

It is commonly called a blue gum because of its bluey-grey bark, though it is also called a forest red gum. Both common names have also been used for other species in other areas. So those who know it as a timber tree usually refer to it as a Forest Red Gum, but Queensland farmers are most likely to refer to it as a Blue Gum.

Because of their size, and because their limbs are heavy and can be brought down in storms, they are generally not planted in parks, gardens, windbreaks or roadside. They grow on the valley floors where most of the land has been cleared for agriculture or grazing. For these 2 reasons the only ones we have are either remnants of former forests or occasional self sown ones like this one on grazing lands in the valley bottoms. An area, not far from where this photo was taken, was recently added to the National Park estate partly because of the presence of this species, "the blue gum habitat is not well represented in our national parks".

It can be grown in plantations, and it has been established in many parts of the world because of its growth rate, its hard timber suitable for heavy construction work including rail sleepers and as a domestic fuel wood.

This species has been introduced to appropriate climates around the world including in south Asia, east and southern Africa, South America and California. So common is it in India now that it is referred to as Mysore Gum in the timber trade in Asia. In Hindi it is called safeda and in Khmer language it is known as pré:ng khchâl’ slök tô:ch. In east Africa its Swahili name is mkaratusi. I have seen some of these growing on the French Riviera where it is simply referred to as Eucalyptus.

In Australia, it is a koala food tree and it is used by parrot species for nesting in old limb hollows, as well as a food source. Flocks of lorikeets will arrive to feed on the nectar of its prolific blossoms when it is in flower. Dollar birds, butcher birds and kookaburras frequent it. Crows commonly nest in its upper ranches. Because of its height, flying foxes often rest in it during their long early evening flights to distant food sources, and during flowering it is also a favourite forage tree for them.

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  • Uploaded on February 13, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens