The unusual colours of the rainbow eucalyptus are caused by the continuous peeling of the bark. The bright-green inner bark is exposed and then ripens, first to blue, then purple and red before finally turning orange and brown.
The rainbow eucalyptus is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 75 metres tall. The bark is not the only striking feature, the blossom is also beautiful. Large racemes of white blossom adorn the entire crown, a feast for bees. The tree is a tropical species originating from the Philippines and it thrives in wet rainforests. It is not tolerant to any frost, the leaves begin to die when temperatures drop below just 10º Celsius and the whole tree will die at -2º Celsius. This means that the rainbow eucalyptus is not a suitable species for our region, it begins to grow from climate zone 10 or above. And if you did want to try growing one, as an oversized house plant, for example, the bark would sadly not produce the colourful pattern it has in its natural habitat.
The rainbow eucalyptus is mainly cultivated for the production of paper, it is the fastest growing forestry tree. The first plantation for these giants was established in 1948 and the species is now grown throughout the tropics. In swampy areas in Africa, the species is planted to combat malaria. The trees consume so much water that swamps become drier and mosquitoes therefore have much less water for their eggs and larvae.