deglupta

The most colorful tree in the world: The Rainbow Eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus deglupta).


The Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) or ‘MINDANAO GUM’ looks almost like it’s been spray painted, but the up to 70-m tall tree is colored this way completely naturally. Its bark can take on a yellow, green, orange and even purple shading.

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 Philippines where the tree grows natively. However, it has been introduced worldwide as an exotic wood in South America, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China and other countries.

Image courtesy of Green Renaissance.

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These are rainbow eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus deglupta) and hail from the Philippine Islands.

The trees get their name from the striking colours observed on their trunks and limbs. Although it may look like someone took a paintbrush to them, these colours are entirely natural. Unlike most trees, the rainbow eucalyptus does not have a thick, cork-like layer of bark on its trunk. The bark is smooth and as it grows it ‘exfoliates’ layers of spent tissue. This exfoliation technique occurs at different stages and in different zones of the tree.

Once a layer is shed, a new fresh green bark is exposed. As this new bark ages, we can see the tissue change colour to dark green followed by a bluish colour, then to purple and pink-orange and then finally to a brown pigment right before exfoliation occurs.

As this process occurs at different rates and in sporadic areas of the tree, the colours are constantly changing, resulting in unique patterns; a living work of art.