A friend recently asked me about the difference between the countryside in Australia and Japan. One big difference is the general colour of the vegetation. Japan’s is mostly a deep or lush green, whereas Australia is dominated by gum trees and is more a muted green, olive or khaki.
Gum trees, also called eucalyptus trees, cover much of Australia and make up an amazing 75% of the forests here! There are over 700 species of eucalyptus and nearly all over them are native to Australia – only 9 species are exclusively non-Australian.
Gumtrees can be just small bushes or huge trees, depending on the species. One species, the Eucalyptus Regnans or Mountain Ash is the tallest flowering tree on Earth and one of the tallest trees in general. Compared to most other trees, they drink a lot of water, are weak against frost and cold but good at surviving fires.
Eucalypts are famous for a few reasons. Perhaps they are most famous for being the only food of Koalas. They are very important as sources of firewood, timber and oil in several counties. They are also know for their flowers, which can be white, cream, yellow, pink or red. They are nearly all evergreen, and with so many of them around they have a huge effect on the colour of the Australian countryside.