I’m a bit weary of big and old trees so this week I thought we’d take a look at something a bit different, the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus deglupta) sometimes called the Mindanao Gum Tree
The Rainbow Eucalyptus is native to the Philippines and is the only species of Eucalyptus that’s native to the northern hemisphere. Like all eucalyptus trees it’s fast growing and it’s precisely all that growing that gives the tree its colour.
According to research by David Lee, professor at Florida International University and author of the book Nature’s Palette: The Science of Plant Color, the change takes place on the microscopic level. When the bark is stripped away, bright green chlorophyll is readily visible through a thin transparent surface layer that’s just one cell thick.
As time passes, reddish brown tannins build up in the surface layer, changing the apparent color. The chlorophyll beneath also dies down with time, creating the incredible fluorescent display that the tree is known for. The tree prefers wet, humid climates, and although the color can be observed anywhere, the display is brightest in the trees that grow in their native Mindanao.
What incredible trees. They can grow in excess of 60 meters and have been successfully introduced as decorative trees to many places including Hawaii and Florida. The trees like humid weather and do best when
they’re their feet are wet. In their native Philippines the trees are used for pulp and paper making.
For more information and photos plus a short video I encourage you to check out the whole story at Treeographer.