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The Eucalyptus grow rapidly, and many species attain great height. The giant gum tree, or mountain ash, of Victoria and Tasmania, is one of the largest species and attains a height of about 90 metres (300 feet) and a circumference of 7.5 metres (24.5 feet). Many species continually shed the dead outermost layer of bark in flakes or ribbons, whereas certain other species have thick textured bark.
Major Species And Uses
The leaf glands of many species, especially black peppermint tree and Tasmanian blue gum, contain a volatile aromatic oil known as eucalyptus oil. Its chief use is medical, and it constitutes an active ingredient in expectorants and inhalants. Tasmanian blue gum, northern gray iron bark, and other species yield what is known as Botany Bay kino, an astringent dark reddish resin, obtained in a semi fluid state from incisions made in the tree trunk.
Eucalyptus wood is extensively used in Australia as fuel, and the timber is commonly used in buildings and fencing. Among the many species of timber-yielding eucalypti are the black peppermint tree; southern mahogany, Tasmanian blue gum, white iron bark, or yellow gum.
Size and habit
Eucalyptus vary in size and habit from shrubs to tall trees. Trees usually have a single main stem or trunk but many eucalyptus are mallees that are multi stemmed from ground level and rarely taller than 10 metres (33 ft). There is no clear distinction between a mallee and a shrub but in eucalyptus, a shrub is a mature plant less than 1 metre (3 ft) tall and growing in an extreme environment.