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Eucalyptus Paper

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Eucalyptus globulus Labill

Eucalyptus globulus Labill, is a species also known as the Tasmanian Blue Gum grows mainly along the east coast of Tasmania. The specific epithet globulus is Latin for globe-like or spherical, which refers to the shape of the fruit it bears. Bluegum Eucalyptus is part of the Myrtaceae family. Bluegum trees are also native to many parts of Australia, and various sub-tropic climate regions. This species of Eucalyptus is a medium-sized tree, that grows 15-20 meters tall. Occasionally the tree can reach heights of up to 70 meters. It’s root system grows deep and spreads out far in range for sturdy attachment. The bark of the tree is rough and persistent, but peels to reveal long thin strips of smooth grey, green, or yellow trunk. The tree’s juvenile leaves are waxy and blue-green in color. When the leaves start to mature they become sickle-shaped, dark green, glossy, and develop many oil glands. Eucalyptus globulus is a flowering tree, which flowers from September to December, but seeds will remain on trees until mid summer. The flowers are white or cream, and produce massive amounts of nectar which is pollinated by nearby birds, mammals, and insects. Bluegum trees’ habitat is a tall, open forest with a wide range of soils.

The bluegum eucalyptus tree was first described in 1799 by a French Botanist named Labillardiere, who was collecting specimens on the coast of Tasmania. Labillardiere noted that most forms of eucalypt can adapt to many different environments. It has adapted to temperate environments where it rains and the summer and winter. The bluegum tree typically thrives in cooler zones of tropical mountains. Since then, it has been cultivated in all parts of the world. There are 3 states in the US which it exists which are California, Arizona, and Hawaii. In the 1850’s The Bluegum tree made it’s way to California during the Gold Rush. California government encouraged it’s cultivation in hopes that it would provide a large However, the largest established plantings of Eucalyptus globulus are in Portugal, Spain, and Chile.

In the 19th century, Eucalyptus gained much attention for it’s rapid growth. The quick growth attracted many industrial companies, and shortly after Eucalyptus bluegum trees were grown to use for hardwood in construction sites. It was soon found out that Eucalyptus has poor lumber qualities due to the growth stress problems, the wood would start to twist and deform. So we found a different use for the wood of this tree; paper. Eucalyptus grandis & Eucalyptus globulus are the most used varieties in paper making. The fiber length of Eucalyptus is short, and uniform with low coarseness. The properties of these fibers give the paper formation and a high opacity that is important in fine papers, such as toilet paper, tissues and paper towels.

Besides it’s unique paper making qualities, eucalyptus also has a powerful healing property. The essential oil in the plant is obtained by distilling the leaves of the tree. Eucalyptol, is the oil’s main component; this substance is found in many of today’s over-the-counter cough drops, as well as a key ingredient in mouth wash. Eucalyptus oils are used for infections, fevers, upset stomach, joint pain, arthritis, etc. However, the most common uses are for the respiratory tract. The oils produced by the eucalyptus leaf opens the lungs and encourages regular breathing. It also clears clogged nasal passages and bronchiole congestion. This makes eucalyptus one of the best known remedies for colds. It is also known for killing airborne bacteria. Jean Valnet, M.D. reports that using a solution of 2% eucalyptus oil sprayed in the air will kill 70% of airborne staph bacteria. The tree itself is a strong deterrent of many other types of bacteria. In some parts of North Africa, Eucalyptus trees are specifically planted in order to stop the spread of malaria further.

For many centuries, the leaves of the eucalyptus bluegum were used as a disinfectant to cover wounds. Today, some doctors still use solutions of eucalyptus oils in surgical dressings. The growing and cultivation of Eucalyptus is not a difficult process. Seed propagation is the most common way to raise hardy Eucalyptus bluegum trees for ornamental purposes. The seed is commonly sown in February or March. In order for the seeds to come out of their capsule they must be kept in a warm, dry place for several days. Once the seed has been removed from the seed capsule, it must be kept somewhere cool. The seeds of the Eucalyptus globulus must be cold-stratified before it is able to fully germinate. Stratification means the seed must be kept cold and wet for a certain period of time so it will ‘think’ it is winter time. Once it’s climate changes, it will ‘think’ it is spring time and germinate faster. Once the seed has germinated, it is ready to be planted near the top of the soil. It is important to use a light potting mix , just enough to keep the seed from being exposed to excess light. The roots begin to spread rapidly. One way to encourage the development of a strong root system for the size of the growth is to use less nitrogen than would be used on most other woody plants. Temperature is surprisingly insignificant in the cultivation of a eucalyptus tree. One is likely to get a healthy strong eucalyptus plant, no matter the climate.

There are many forms of Eucalyptus, in fact there are over 700 species. Eucalyptus globulus is one of the most popular species, as well as most important due to it’s various uses. Due to the French naturalists’ discovering various types of species, we were able to capture it’s cultivation and bring it into the United States. Each part of this plant is utilized in a unique way. We use it’s short-fiber bark for making paper, it’s leaves for the essential oils it bears to heal, and it’s beautiful white flowers for a reminder of what an incredibly beautiful thing can come from just a seed!
Bibliography

Esser, Lora L. 1993. Eucalyptus globulus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [2012, April 18].

"Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil." Pure Essential Oil and Aromatherapy. Essential Oil World. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. .

"Eucalyptus Globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum)." Plants & Fungi: Eucalyptus Globulus (Tasmanian Blue Gum). KEW Botanical Gardens. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. .

Floral Emblems of Australia (2010). Eucalyptus globulus. Available at: http://www.anbg.gov.au/emblems/tas.emblem.html (accessed 18 April 20120)

Kinney, Abbot. Eucalyptus,. Los Angeles, Cal.: B. R. Baumgardt &, 1895. Print.…...

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