Trees

Red eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

Originally from Australia but spread in many parts of the world, this arboreal species also called red eucalyptus and evergreen tree, belongs to the Eucalypto genus of the Myrtaceae family and is characterized by its large size and height reaching 60 meters.

Throughout its life in good water and temperature conditions, the diameter can reach two meters. Its bark is smooth and bluish-green or green. With a wide crown and a very thick trunk, its surface detaches itself in plates over the years and sometimes completely. 

characteristics

Often this tree is found as its natural habitat on the banks of rivers or water courses. It blooms in winter coinciding with the Australian spring and its flowers are grouped in number from 7 to 10 with a conical lid that, when detached, reveals a quantity of whitish stamens.

Its flowering period is quite long with a limit until the end of spring. Due to its large volume and development, it is not recommended for gardens and urban areas, since it requires large spaces with great amplitude for its free expansion and development, coupled with the fact that its innate aggressiveness causes the impoverishment of soils.

It is the eucalyptus species with the most extensive area of ​​dissemination in continental Australia, where it is an icon, presenting great genetic variability. It grows in temperate climates with winter rains, and in the south to tropical climates with summer rains in the north.

Outside of Australia, it is perhaps the largest of the eucalyptus species planted in arid or semi-arid areas and which resists extreme conditions of drought and floods, in addition to adapting to maritime climates.

It supports the presence of lime in the soil to a certain extent, since if it is excessive it produces chlorosis, a disease typical of plants that due to the lack of salts causes the loss of the green color. With an adaptability that shows the elasticity it possesses, it can be planted anywhere in the world.

It spreads through its seeds, not by cuttings.

Eucalyptus camaldulensis cultivation

It is widely cultivated in Spain, being the second most important and abundant variety with an expansion of 175,000 hectares planted throughout the country.

Although they were introduced in the nineteenth century, it was not until the twentieth century when they spread massively. The provinces that stand out for having this species on their soil are: Cáceres, Badajoz, Huelva, Seville, Toledo, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Cádiz and Málaga.

The controversy did not wait for the massive introduction of this species in this country, with supporters and detractors, considering the most radical that the arrival of this tree in Spanish lands was one of the worst forestry initiatives in history. Spanish.

Currently, plantations continue to be an obstacle in the conservation of flora and fauna, in addition to the fact that because it is a pyrophytic plant, this means that it facilitates the spread of forest fires because it is a fuel generator and, due to its large size, aggravates a fire situation that together with the other factors runs the risk of becoming an uncontrollable forest fire in many cases.

The name makes a direct allusion to the flower of this tree that is well protected until it opens up by the camaldulis sepals, which refers to the Italian garden of Naples with that name.

When it is a young plant, the eucalyptus has elongated leaves with a pointed apex without hairs, unlike in adulthood when these leaves become wide and with the pointed apex.

With small, whitish flowers arranged in pedunculated axillary umbels in the axils of the leaves, it is actually a fast-growing species that stands out for its great ability to adapt to climate variability.

Its development has spread throughout much of Argentina from the Province of Rio Negro to the north, thus integrating afforestation of massifs or curtains and mountains of repair, being its very important presence in the province of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Jujuy.

Due to its large size, it produces good shade in regions of extreme temperature such as central Australia, where it also serves as a stabilizer for river banks and retains the soil.

It is a timber tree species included in the so-called exotics, and taking into account that the world’s forests are being cut down, and the fact that the growing demand for wood for industrial use and to meet fuel needs in developing countries with Increasing populations are on the rise, it is a species that does not contribute to the environment.

The planting of species such as Eucalyptus camaldulensis is adopted as a viable solution, which is among the more than 600 varieties of this same genus due to its rapid growth and its multiple uses, from the wood itself, to a series of environmental uses, medicinal and ornamental.

However,  there are opinions adverse to this growing popularity that encourage the planting of these trees, the argument as valid as the previous one refers to the short and long term damage that these species cause to the soil, including the environment and the availability of the water and wildlife.

Such is the situation that some countries have already expressly forbidden the planting of eucalyptus trees, since the drying power of the species is such that they can transform already semi-arid lands into drier, sometimes becoming used to drain swamps.

Benefits

However, despite these controversies, there is no doubt that the medicinal benefits provided by eucalyptus are irrefutable. First of all, the essential oil that is extracted from these trees is extremely useful in respiratory ailments in its internal use and by inhalation, and has antiseptic properties in the case of bronchial and lung diseases. It also serves as a deodorant, anthelmintic, astringent, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycemic, mucolytic, bactericidal, fungicidal and bacteriostatic.

In its application and external use we find that its properties are also wide, since they serve in the case of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, healing, eczema, vulvovaginitis, wounds, skin irritation and even oral infections, apart from fighting halitosis or bad breath.

As if that were not enough, it relieves headaches, tones the nervous system and comes in the form of a lotion to be used on cuts, preventing the appearance of germs and infections. The primary factor for all these beneficial qualities is that these leaves have antiseptic and balsamic virtues.

As a bactericide, it has been found that eucalyptus has the ability to eliminate and prevent the growth and development of bacteria that are normally found on our skin and nose, as is the case with staphylococci and mycobacterium.

As an anti-inflammatory it is indicated to do steam baths with the leaves of this plant, thus managing to alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis.

In the case of antiseptics, their qualities are remarkable in the relief and healing of acne and irritations of another nature on the skin.

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