There are literally hundreds of varieties of EUCALYPTUS trees and sometimes it feels like they are all located in San Diego County.
We probably all know that the leaves of this tree are the food of choice for Koala Bears but that's not why they can be found around here. They are native to Australia, where they are sometimes called gum trees -- not to be confused with chewing gum, but were imported here to San Diego County because many varieties grow extremely tall and straight trunks. Some bright people thought that they would be ideal for making railroad ties. Unfortunately they were wrong. When they dry out, they split and crack too easily to be used for that purpose. Unfortunately too, they are full of oil and in our fire season they are a real danger. I have actually seen them explode into hundred foot flaming torches. Scary! Even so, the oil is used in soap and candles and even ointments. It can have a pungent menthol smell.
However there is one variety that to me is both intriguing and beautiful. The Rainbow Eucalyptus looks like this:
I've looked at a number of these on the web and they can't all be photo shopped -- can they? Anyway I have never seen one as bright as this but the ones in our park are definitely multi-colored, only the colors are rather more attractively, a pastel shade.
The other thing I like about them is that they shed large strips of bark. I probably wouldn't like that factor if they were in my yard because they do make quite a mess. Even so the bark looks like it would be an interesting media to draw or paint on. I haven't tried that yet. Maybe you know someone who has.
When they have shed all their bark the trunks are a very pretty, smooth, pale yellowish pink.
Even since I was a child, I have had a very keen interest in trees, shrubs, flowers, birds and animals -- sorry not too much in reptiles and insects -- and now in my retirement and new home, I have the opportunity to spend more time following this interest. English literature is my field, but my English teachers always scorned Enid Blyton, (a very popular British children's writer) yet it was she who sparked my interest in nature through her book "Enid Blyton's Nature Lover's Diary". So since this is E week I guess I can include Enid Blyton as one of my E's.
Incidentally, I have written a full length children's adventure story, based on my beautiful village of Flamborough, and written in a style quite similar to Enid Blyton's. A major publisher held it for a full year before returning it to me personally, by of one of their editors. Their top man said it was too British, too much like Enid Blyton! I should have resubmitted it but by that time I was snowed under with teaching full time and two teenage boys. Now I figure the only thing that sells for children today is science fiction or fantasy, so there it languishes in one of my manuscript drawers. Sad!
This is my submission for ABC WEDNESDAY round 13, letter E. ENTHUSIASTIC support for Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Owen Green for their ENDURING work on this EXCELLENT and EDUCATIONAL project. Please go visit the ABC Wednesday HERE to see all the other contributions.