In 1770, eucalyptus specimens made their way to Europe for the first time. On his first Pacific Ocean trip, Captain James Cook explored part of the Australian coast. Botanists on-board cataloged and collected several different species, taking them back to London. European botanists gave the trees the name eucalyptus because of how the flowers are in hard, protective cup-like structures: The Greek root eu means “well” and calyptos means “covered.”
Soon, interest in the eucalyptus grew in Europe. In the early 1800s, wealthy merchants and aristocrats were excited about rare or “exotic” plants and, together with people in the plant business, made cultivating eucalyptus trees popular. The new European settlers in Australia were eager to make some money selling the abundant eucalyptus. The trees were promoted not only as aesthetically pleasing, but also capable of satisfying many practical needs. Thus, it quickly spread throughout Europe.
Eucalyptus is a very large genus that consists of over 600 species, which natively live in Australia, Tasmania, and some surrounding islands. A whopping 80 percent of Australia’s open forests are eucalyptus trees.
Click to read more on how eucalyptus came to California.
Rowland, Teisha. “How the Eucalyptus Came to California.” How the Eucalyptus Came to California, 15 Jan. 2011, www.independent.com/news/2011/jan/15/how-eucalyptus-came-california/