The gum tree or ‘eucalyptus’ is one of the most recognized Australian plants. It is no surprise that its lush green foliage has become an extremely popular addition to garlands, wreaths, bouquets and even large scale floral displays. However, did you know that many varieties of gum produce attractive flowers as well? Eucalyptus flowers are not typical flowers though, as these showy blooms are made up mostly of anthers and styles, rather than petals. This makes gum flowers much more delicate than many other cut flowers. Usually, these flowers are found in white, pink, yellow, and reddish shades. And, in most species, the buds appear in clusters on a single stem that develops on the axil of the leaves.
The cone-shaped fruits that develop are called gum nuts, which have valves that allow the seeds to be shed. These wonderful nuts come in several shapes and sizes and add unique color and texture to designs.
What to look for:
- Flowers that are 1/2 open and fluffy looking.
- Avoid wilted flowers.
- Keep cool and out of direct sun light.
- Strip leaves from the bottom half of each stem.
- Re-cut at least 1/2” off each stem and place in cold water.
- Use a preservative as this will keep flowers looking fresh.
- Replace vase water with fresh preservative.
- Also known as gum trees, for the sticky sap that oozes out of the bark.
- The name “Eucalyptus” came from the Greek words, “eu” meaning well and “kalyptos,” meaning covered, referring to the bud cap that initially covers the flower.
- Eucalyptus is valued for its fast-growing wood.
- Eucalyptus trees are among the tallest trees in the world.
- The wood is commonly used to make digeridoos, a traditional instrument from Australia.
- All parts of the plant can be used to make fabric dyes; colours range from yellow and orange through to green, tan, chocolate and red.