Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne nursery staff have successfully propagated a rare tropical Eucalypt. The original Eucalyptus deglupta (Rainbow Eucalyptus) has subsequently died, but our nursery staff have two fine specimens growing in our nursery.
Eucalyptus deglupta is native to the rainforests of Mindanao, which is a small island in the Philippine Island group. It has also naturalised through some Asian countries and across the Pacific to Hawaii. This tree is renowned for its beautiful bark, hence the common name Rainbow Eucalyptus. Although this tree comes from the tropics it can withstand light frosts and grows very fast as long as it is provided with plenty of water. The main use for Eucalyptus deglupta is forestry, where it is harvested for wood chips and fence poles. It is sometimes grown in large gardens and arboretums to display its spectacular bark.
At RBG Melbourne, our only specimen of Eucalyptus deglupta was slowly dying. A request to propagate this unusual tree was received by the nursery and material was collected. The first batch of cuttings failed but it was discovered that the top of the tree had died out and juvenile sucker growth was growing from the base. The juvenile growth was selected for cuttings, and with great care, the nursery staff were successful in producing new plants from these cuttings. They have now been potted on and are happily growing.
The propagation of eucalypts by cuttings is a first for the RBG Melbourne nursery. The original tree is now dead, but we have two healthy 40-cm plants to replace it, and are pleased to keep this wonderful tree as part of our collections in the Gardens.
Last updated 08 Jun 2010