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Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta)

The Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) or Mindanao Gum is the
only species of Eucalyptus tree found in the northern hemisphere. As if
that weren’t extraordinary enough, the up to 70-m tall tree also shines
in the colours of the rainbow: its bark can take on a yellow, green,
orange and even purple shading!

Nope, no crazy abstract painter has put a paint brush to this tree:

The unusual phenomenon is caused by patches of bark shedding at
different times. The different colours are therefore indicators of the
age of the bark: Freshly shed outer bark will reveal the bright green
inner bark. This darkens over time and changes from blue to purple and
then reaches orange and maroon tones.

One would think that a tree this pretty and unusual should, well, if
not be worshipped, at least be put on public display in parks and
forests. Sadly, that is not the case. Rainbow Eucalyptus trees are
cultivated around the world mainly for pulpwood creation purposes. Wood
pulp is the most common ingredient when making paper, white paper that
is. The pulp can be chemically or mechanically separated from the wood.
It is a dry, fibrous material whose fibres disperse and become more
pliable when suspended in water.

Pulpwood’s here to stay though as it is considered a source of green
energy, and demand has increased over the last few years. Currently
though, trees cultivated specifically for pulp production account for
only 16% of world pulp production. About 9% comes from old growth
forests and the remaining 75% from second-, third- and more generation
forests. That’s a lot of tree years wasted for a bit of pulpwood!

However, reforestation and specific cultivation for pulp wood purposes
are on the rise, making the trees a renewable energy.
If you want to spot a Rainbow Eucalyptus tree live and in all its
glory, you’ll have to travel to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea or the
Philippines, the tree’s only native places. However, it has been
introduced worldwide as an exotic wood in South America, Malaysia, Sri
Lanka, China and other countries.
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