Eucalyptus Gunnii

Eucalyptus Gunnii

 

Cider Gum

 

Scientific name: Eucalyptus Gunnii

Family: Myrtaceae

 

The Cider gum is endemic to the central plateau of Tasmania where temperatures can fall into the minus’.  An average annual rainfall for the western half of the central highlands municipality can receive over 1600mm whilst on the eastern side receives less than 600mm.  Cider gums are frost and snow tolerant (up to -20 for short periods), drought tolerant (once established), with the waxy surface of the leaves is designed to minimize water loss. Prefers full sun to partial shade and can grow on sandy/chalky soil though prefers a loamy soil.  Can also be planted in wet ground to dry up excess water, helping to reduce mosquito numbers.

Growing to a height of 35m, with a trunk diameter of 1.5m, trunk girth 4.7m, an open form with a spread of 32m.  Cider gums can grow up to 1.5m per year.  Germination can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.  Maturing around 7 years of age and can live up to 150 years old (it was the only record I could find regarding its life expectancy).  Bark colouration on a mature tree can vary from yellowish white-green and pink-grey.  The leaves of a juvenile tree are rounded with a waxy green-blue colour which is sought after by florists (cattle also love the young leaves).  The leaves then change as the tree matures to become elongated and a rich green colour, but if pruned regularly to keep as a shrub, the juvenile leaves can be retained. In summer white flowers attract birds, bees and butterflies.

The Cider gum leaves are antiseptic and antifungal; the leaves yield between 0.4 to 0.8% essential oil.

In spring, once mature, the Cider gum is able to be tapped and the syrup like sap is collected and drank straight from the tree or to made into an alcoholic beverage by storing it in closed jars so it can ferment.  The taste is meant to be similar to apple cider (how the name Cider gum came about).  The sweet sugary sap can also be eaten straight off the tree.  A tapped trunk can yield up to ½ litre a day.

Cider gums can also be used for its timber.  Once milled it must be left for 12 months before it can be used.

The wide spread of the branches provides dappled shade from the sun and shelter for younger trees.

 

 

 



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