2017

 
 

Most of the 800 or so species of Eucalypts are native to Australia. Graceful and open in habit, they belong to the myrtle (Myrtaceae) family, which is noted for aromatic leaves. They range in size from huge forest trees to multi-stemmed shrubs. And most are known for peeling and colorful bark and as well as aromatic oils and attractive flowers rich in nectar. Their only draw back is that most are not very cold hardy. However, a few are, and of these, and one of the more appealing, is the Cider gum, or Eucalyptus gunnii.

When young, it has the  leaves that encircle the stems, but the mature tree has dark green,  long oval leaves. The flower bud has an enlarged floral receptacle and cap, which covers numerous fluffy stamens and is shed when the flower opens. The stamens are creamy white and are produced in mid summer. Cider Gums are also one of the fastest growing Eucalypts and can reach 70 feet or more in height depending on locale. With some maturity the bark will begin shedding all over to leave a smooth, yellowish, patchy surface, weathering to white, green or pink-grey. Cider gum is noted for exceptional cold tolerance down to as low as 0 degrees Fahrenheit and is now commonly planted as an ornamental across the British Isles and in warmer parts of the United States, but as they are best suited to warm-temperate or semi-arid regions, they do particularly well in the American southwest and in California. They are quite drought tolerant once established.

The plant produces a sweet sap similar to maple syrup, and is being considered for cultivation for this product. When bottled and capped, the liquid ferments and resembles apple cider, hence cider gum. The sweet foliage is eagerly eaten by wildlife as well as livestock.

Cider gum

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