By A B I Igboanugo, Nigeria
It has been introduced to many countries around the world. In its native country, Australia, Eucalyptus camaldulensis flowers all year and is therefore very valuable for bees.
The honey is white to light amber in colour, of a mild flavour and fairly quickly granulating.
Red river gum, Murray red gum
One of the fastest growing tree species for the production of fuelwood and poles.
By five years' old it can reach 18 m and a total volume of 83 m'. It can reach 50 m tall.
Bark: smooth and light grey in colour, thin and peeling in strips.
Leaves: grey-blue, 30 cm long and drooping. Flowers: white clusters. The petals are united into a hood which falls off as a whole after fertilisation.
Fruit: a very small capsule at the end of a thin stalk.
Its natural habitat is along water courses in eastern Australia. It requires underground water, but will grow in a wide range of soils and climates.
Poles: for scaffolding, building, and power transmission lines.
Essential oil: extracted from the leaves. This is used in pharmaceutical preparations and soaps. Recently it has been reported that people in the Nigerian savannahs use infusions of the leaves to cure typhoid fever. The bark is used in tanning.
This was one of the first Eucalyptus to be used elsewhere in the world. Now it is one of the commonest exotic tree species in farms and gardens in the tropics and subtropics, especially in dry areas. It can withstand frost.
Eucalyptus camaldulensis suppresses the yields of common staple vegetables and food crops in the Nigerian savannahs, such as cowpea, groundnuts, maize, okra, pepper, fluted pumpkin, soyabean and spinach. Yields are reduced by the excessive consumption of soil water and nutrients by the Eucalyptus.
[Bees for Development Journal #40]