If you can picture Beech-Nut’s Fruit Stripe gum, you can picture the colours of this tree. The Rainbow Eucalyptus tree is a living testament to the brightly coloured sticks of gum. Whether known by the name Rainbow Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Deglupta, Rainbow Gum or Mindanao Gum, this tree is spectacular looking. Primarily known for its lively bark colours, this beautiful tree is a long way from the North Pole, yet the rainbow eucalyptus’s trunk displays hues of greens, blues, purples and reds, not unlike the colours featured in a dazzling Northern Lights display.
The Secret is in the Bark
As you look at a trunk of a rainbow eucalyptus tree, not unlike a work of art, you can be assured you will not see another tree trunk exactly the same. If you look at the tree again during different times of the year, it will also appear different because the tree is constantly changing. This tree’s beauty stems from the bark’s properties. The rainbow eucalyptus tree trunk is smooth, reminiscent of a Paper Birch or Aspen tree. As the tree grows, the bark slowly sheds itself and peels away from the trunk. Underneath the peeled bark the new bark is revealed to be a bright green colour. As the tree matures, it sheds more and more bark. The bark’s changing colours depend upon the age of the bark as it is naturally eroded from the tree, layer by layer. Within the many exposed multi-layers of bark is where the magic takes place. As the bark ages, it changes colour. At any one time, there are many different colour shadings that look to be painted onto the tree’s trunk.
The Rainbow Eucalyptus tree is not just grown for its stunning beauty, though it is a striking ornamental tree. It is primarily cultivated in the Philippines for the tree’s pulp which is used to make pulpwood, a common ingredient used to create paper.
This stately tree is the only type of eucalyptus that grows north of the equator. It originally was discovered on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, where it got its name, the Mindanao Gum. It was brought to Hawaii in the late 1920s. Even though the tree is part of the eucalyptus family, it does not emit the highly recognizable scent that people associate with eucalyptus leaves. So far it has been resistant to being affected by any insects.
Where the Rainbow Eucalyptus Grows
The fast-growing tropical tree can grow to be 220 feet tall, though it can be trained to be smaller. It can be grown throughout the world, wherever there is a warm, humid climate and is located in sun or part shade. It cannot live through hard frosts or winters. It can be found throughout the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, parts of Australia and in the lower United States.