Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eucalyptus "Berries" Fruiting and Being Invasive

Eucalyptus berries all over the deck. (Not the best picture.)
Living in a jungalow next to a gulch, with the deck facing the windy side, means that all manner of wind borne seeds and leaves land on the deck on a regular basis. This means constantly sweeping up and hosing off eucalyptus leaves, African tulip flowers, and bird feathers when the cat has a midday snack. 

I've been trying to pay attention to plant cycles, and have noticed a large quantity of eucalyptus seeds or fruits or berries landing on our deck, much more than usual, especially around mid and late November. The berries are reddish brown and squishy with lots of little dark specks inside which I think must be seeds. 


Eucalyptus "berry" or fruit with little seeds inside.


I've also had eucalyptus seedlings sprout in pots with other plant.  Eucalyptus here grows to a gigantic scale, towering over houses and everything else. I've heard it's a thirsty tree which grows very fast, and makes it difficult for other trees to compete, especially the native trees.

Eucalyptus sapling growing in the nook of another tree.

The eucalyptus on Maui doesn't have any fragrance, at least not that I've ever noticed.  The wood is also extremely tough and hard to cut. The termites hate it, but so do most saw blades. Supposedly eucalyptus was brought to Maui as a lumber source, but wasn't easy to work with, isn't easy to cure in straight boards, and has been taking over the forests.

The eucalyptus tree in our gulch has grown tremendously in the last few years. The branches used to be several feet away from the deck, and now are practically touching it. We do need to trim it back, somehow, but don't ever dare cut it down, because its roots are probably what is keeping our jungalow from falling into a 300 foot gulch. 

Here's another photo of a huge eucalyptus tree towering over a house. 

This house gets a lot of shade. 

2 comments:

  1. Way up in Olinda the trees do have a scent. The trees were brought over as a lumber source after the sandalwood trade stripped the mountainside and after a huge fire ravaged Haleakala. Unfortunately, the winds prevent the eucalyptus trees from growing straight making it not very good for building. The hardness of the wood, as you mentioned, is also a problem for milling.
    I really do like a eucalyptus log on a fire as it smells good. So do the seed pods. Throw them into your fireplace and they'll put out a lovely scent.
    The trees are very invasive. The ranches have to stay on top of removing the trees regularly. When we go hiking we remove the saplings by hand.

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  2. Wow, I learn something from you every time!

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