Eucalyptus, Gum Tree Eucalyptus sp.
FAMILY: MYRTACEAE (Myrtle Family)
Eucalyptus, or gum, trees were originally introduced to California in 1856. The trees were popular because they grew quickly, didn't need a lot of water, and could be used for shade, wood, and products made from the tree's aromatic oil. On top of all that, fleas didn't seem to like yards with eucalyptus trees! Needless to say, the trees spread rapidly and are now a familiar sight in the Southern California landscape.
Here at the San Diego Zoo, our gum trees have an additional very important purpose: to provide browse for our koalas. We feed the fuzzy marsupials with 34 different eucalyptus species harvested from the Zoo, the Safari Park, and our browse farm.