Classification, origin and diffusion
Leucalyptus is a species native to temperate Australia. Introduced in the Mediterranean basin in the mid-nineteenth century as other eucalyptus species for forestry, ornamental and medicinal purposes, it was widespread and propagated along the coasts. In Italy it is found from Liguria to Sicily.
Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (photo Forest Starr Kim Starr)
Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus globulus Labill. (photo T. Scoepke www.plant-pictures.de)
Habit, trunk and bark
Majestic and elegant tree, up to 30 meters tall, straight stem with arched branches, broadly oval or irregular crown. Smooth, greenish gray that detaches from the stem in irregular longitudinal ribbons, leaving a glimpse of the lighter, white or cream-colored bark which over time becomes darker.
In young plants they are ovate, without petiole, opposite and smaller than as adults.
In adult plants they are linear and leathery, up to 30 cm long and 2-2.5 cm wide, sickle-shaped lanceolate, acute apex and smooth margin, alternate, strongly aromatic.
The flowers are solitary or in groups of 2 three and yellowish white in color, composed of many stamens, 1-2 centimeters long, and without petals. The fruits are woody and hard hemispherical capsules, bell-shaped, with 4 ribs and diameter about 2 cm; they contain a lot of seeds.
It is an important forest essence; leucalyptol is obtained from the leaves, a mixture of terpenes used in the treatment of respiratory diseases.