Rainbow Gum

Rainbow Gum

Common name Rainbow Gum/Mindanao Gum
Botanical Name Eucalyptus deglupta
Family Myrtaceae
Natural range SE Asia
Mature height to 30m
Form Spreading, flat crown
Likes Being on Instagram
Dislikes Frost and colder climates
Where to plant Near the equator
Known for Striking bark colours

Unraveling the Rainbow Gum Magic: Is it a Mirage?
What’s in a Name?

Rainbow Gum, also known as Mindanao Gum, carries the botanical name, Eucalyptus deglupta. This intriguing specimen, belonging to the Myrtaceae family, traces its origins back to Southeast Asia. Capable of reaching a lofty 30m in height, the Rainbow Gum exhibits a spreading, flat crown, the mark of its signature growth form.

Welcome to Rainbow Gum’s Playground

Rainbow Gums thrive in climates akin to those near the equator. Their preference for warmer temperatures means they’re less fond of frosty and colder conditions. As you might have guessed, their colorful bark has turned them into Instagram darlings, despite their exotic growth requirements.

Unveiling the Controversy

Here’s the thing about Rainbow Gums—they’re absolutely stunning. Yet, they might not be as wildly vibrant as your favourite influencer’s post would have you believe. The images circulating on social media often portray the tree with rainbow hues in all their saturated glory, which isn’t entirely accurate.

Are Rainbow Gums Native to Australia? The Unexpected Truth

You might be surprised to learn that these vivid trees aren’t indigenous to Australia despite being a Eucalyptus species. Their natural habitat includes Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. These trees can thrive in the warm, wet climates of Southeast Asia, rather than the varied conditions Australia presents.

The Color-Changing Act

Unlike other Eucalyptus species, Rainbow Gums don’t shed their bark in large chunks or all at once. Instead, they let go of tiny, thin strips throughout the year, revealing a striking green underneath that can sometimes appear almost fluorescent.

As the new bark ages, it transitions through a spectrum of colors—yellow, orange, blue, grey, and rusty red—before it dries out and peels off, ready to begin the cycle again. The continuous shedding and the small size of the bark pieces keep the tree adorned in a mix of hues throughout the year.

Practical Use: More Than Just a Pretty Face

The Rainbow Gum isn’t just a beautiful marvel; it also offers practical value. It’s a fast-growing hardwood used predominantly in timber plantations overseas. Given its suitability for pulpwood, it’s often the go-to source for producing white paper.

Growing a Rainbow Gum: Is It Possible?

If you’re considering growing your own Rainbow Gum, it’s doable, especially if you reside in warmer regions. However, ensure you keep it well-watered and manage your expectations—it might not quite look like the Instagram sensation you’ve seen online!

Intriguing Facts About the Rainbow Gum

  1. Rainbow Gums are the only Eucalyptus tree that grows in the northern hemisphere.
  2. They are one of the four Eucalyptus species not native to Australia.
  3. The tree’s use extends beyond its visual appeal; it’s also used for timber plantations due to its fast-growing nature.
Links for Further Reading
  1. Eucalyptus Deglupta’s Role in Timber Plantations
  2. The Ecological Impact of Rainbow Gums
  3. In-depth Study of Southeast Asia’s Flora
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