In the Wild
Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
*Also known as fever tree, gum tree, southern blue gum, and Tasmanian blue gum
Although eucalyptus is often planted as an ornamental tree, it has made itself at home in the wild. This tree can grow over three hundred feet tall in its native habitat of Australia and Tasmania, but in California and other places where it was introduced it reaches half that size. It is called gum tree in reference to the sticky gum-like substance that the tree secretes. The smooth, brown bark peels in large pieces leaving patches of bluish-white and giving the tree a mottled look. Its blue-green, lance or oval-shaped leaves become long, narrow, and yellowish on mature trees. From November to April, feathery, yellowish-white flowers grow at the leaf axils. The flowers give way to top-shaped seedpods that take about eleven months to mature. The small seeds can be black, brown, orange, or tan.
In the nineteenth century, eucalyptus was introduced from Australia into California, southern Europe, Egypt, South Africa, and India.11 Its oil is a powerful antiseptic and familiar to most people for treating colds.
Eucalyptus is best known for its powers of purification. Burn dried leaves to dispel negative energy and consecrate your ritual space. Wear a sprig of leaves or flowers as an amulet for protection against emotional upsets during past-life work. Use eucalyptus oil in the home to raise the spiritual vibration. (Refer to the entry in “February” for instructions on how to make a reed diffuser.) Dried leaves and flowers facilitate dream and psychic work and communication with spirits. The scent of eucalyptus increases concentration for spell work.
Eucalyptus is associated with the elements air, earth, and water. Its astrological influence comes from Mercury, the moon, Saturn, and the sun.