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Eucalyptus – A Tale of Two Sisters

Life has a wonderful way of creating diversity and variation. Even two siblings born from the same parents can have incredibly different appearances, strengths, and personalities. With this in mind, we wanted to introduce you to two types of eucalyptus trees. Like two sisters, they share similar genetic roots and features, but they also have big differences that set the two apart from each other.

The Flammable Favorite Child

Our first type of eucalyptus tree is Eucalyptus Radiata, also known as narrow-leaf peppermint or Forth River peppermint. It has grey-brown bark with smooth ivory flowers. After pollination, these flowers produce either cup-shaped or spherical fruits. Nature’s Fusions offers Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil, which has a warm, clean, citrus scent. Our eucalyptus oil is especially popular for focus and relaxation!

Nature’s Fusions eucalyptus radiata is distilled from the tree’s wood and leaves. Our eucalyptus oil contains a variety of natural molecules, and the overwhelming majority of molecules in the oil (65.82% according to our third-party testers) is eucalyptol (also called 1,8-Cineole). Eucalyptol is a powerful substance, and because of the high flammability in liquid and vapor form, we don’t recommend leaving your eucalyptus oil near an open flame. Eucalyptus radiata is a milder eucalyptus oil. It is less irritating to the skin, and has a more citrusy scent than eucalyptus globulous because it has less eucalyptol and more limonene (fig. 1).

eucalyptol and limonene molecules
Figure 1. Molecular structure of eucalyptol (left) and limonene (right). Carbon atoms represented in grey, hydrogen atoms represented in white, and oxygen atoms represented in red. Eucalyptol is a flammable cyclic ether with a spicy, mint-like scent. Limonene is a colorless oil with a lemon-y scent.

The Fiery Flame of a Sister

Eucalyptus globulous, on the other hand, has even more eucalyptol, making it potentially more dangerous. This eucalyptus is often called blue gum. It has blue-green leaves, shaggy pale bark, and round brown fruit. And because of it’s high eucalyptol content and invasive nature, this species of eucalyptus is well known for contributing to several California wildfires over the past decade. Eucalyptus trees have unique chemicals that prevent competing plants from growing near them, which allowed imported eucalyptus globulous to easily spread through much of coastal and central California. Combine that with eucalyptus’ naturally flammable oil in its bark and leaves, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a blazing forest fire.

koala in tree

A Loving Home

Both types of eucalyptus trees provide food for Koalas in the wild. Koalas feed on eucalyptus leaves, and will prefer different types of eucalyptus trees depending on the season, so it is beneficial for them to live near a variety of eucalyptus. While we could go over 30 different species of eucalyptus trees, we hope that taking a look at just two types helps you appreciate the diversity and unique properties of this fun family of trees!

If you’re longing for a unique scent from the Land Down Under, look no further than Eucalyptus radiata oil! With a spicy, citrus aroma, this oil will can give you an adventurous boost to your day! Check out our Eucalyptus Radiata to continue this family story for yourself. Who knows, maybe it will even calm your family dinners enough to avoid a family forest fire.

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