Those cute little koala bears just love to eat eucalyptus leaves, and seem to thrive on them. But for the rest of us, Eucalyptus is a strong disinfectant and a strong insecticide.

Eucalyptus globulus, the most commonly used species of Eucalyptus, is sometimes called Blue gum, because of the gum secreted by its stem. This very same gum makes the tree very susceptible to fire. Eucalyptus brush burns readily, and for this reason is often cut down in fire-prone areas. It prefers wet areas and is known to draw a lot of water out of the soil up into its leaves.

Originally brought to the United States from Australia, this evergreen tree has become invasive in many areas of the west. It is a member of the myrtle family. Its leaves have oil glands that create the essential oils that we use in body care products and for disinfectant cleaning products.

The flowers provide pollen for many bees and insects. It is surprising, then, to discover that it has strong insecticidal properties. This is the reason it is an important ingredient in Singing Flower’s Insect Repellent. Its Disinfecting qualities make it an important ingredient in
many household cleaners.

People with high blood pressure or a tendency to epilepsy should avoid eucalyptus. For the rest of us, the pungent smell has a slightly refreshing and somewhat medicinal smell. It is a surprise to find those little koalas munching happily on the leaves.