February 04, 2012

designs of the Eucalyptus


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photo by Donald Kinney

In the 1850s, Eucalyptus trees were introduced to California by Australians during the California Gold Rush. Much of California has a similar climate to parts of Australia. By the early 1900s, thousands of acres of Eucalyptus were planted with the encouragement of the state government. It was hoped that they would provide a renewable source of timber for construction, furniture making and railroad ties. It was soon found that for the latter purpose Eucalyptus was particularly unsuitable, as the ties made from Eucalyptus had a tendency to twist while drying, and the dried ties were so tough that it was nearly impossible to hammer rail spikes into them.
(source: Wikipedia).



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Eucalyptus oil is readily steam distilled from the leaves and can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, and in very small quantities in food supplements, especially sweets, cough drops, toothpaste and decongestants. It also has insect repellent properties, and is an active ingredient in some commercial mosquito repellents.
(source: Wikipedia).

Years ago I took care of a friends dog for a few days, and "Ada-Bagel" (the dog) wore a handmade collar made of the triangular shaped Eucalyptus seeds. It was supposed to help keep the dog free of fleas. And I can't resist telling you that Ada-Bagel's diet was supplemented with one clove of garlic per day, finely chopped and mixed with peanut butter. Yummy...



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Many scorn the mighty Eucalyptus because it is non-native and is invasive. It's also a major fire hazard and fueled the devastating Oakland Hills fire of 1991.

But I will always enjoy Eucalyptus because of the abstract qualities of it's bark, which peels and shreds in long strips as the girth of the trunk expands. No shortage of Eucalyptus photo opportunities here in California. In addition to the uses outlined in the Wikipedia information above, I can tell you they were planted extensively throughout the state to serve as windbreaks for the fields of farmers.


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2 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I am with you, I like the Eucalyptus. We have several country roads here in Sonoma county lined with Eucalptus on both sides and of course is a pleasure to drive through.

AphotoAday said...

Hi SINBAD'S DAD -- yeah, my favorite tree-lined road is the old sections of Lakeville Highway. I used to have a buddy living in Lakeville and while drivng down the highway a branch dropped and smashed his windshield. I've been out there in windstorms myself, and decided it wasn't the safest place to be.

 
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