Tasmanian Blue Gum
Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus

Other Common names:
Southern blue gum, Blue gum.



                                         

Tasmanian blue gum is a tough but pale hardwood. Its notable hardness and density makes it ideal for floors, fittings and surfaces expected to take considerable wear. The timber established a reputation with early European settlers for its toughness and durability, particularly for bridge construction, railway sleepers, mine timbers and wharf piling. The leaves and large flower cases have a strong and characteristic fragrance. Oils extracted from blue gum leaves were also exported for use in medicines and varnishes.

Tasmanian blue gum is pale straw to brown, often with blue to green-grey tones.  The sapwood is paler than heartwood, but often difficult to distinguish. Blue gum is one of Tasmania's most durable timbers, which, combined with its strength, makes it a good structural timber. In keeping with its density, blue gum has to be seasoned and worked with care.


The Resource

The natural habitat of blue gum covers most of eastern coastal Tasmania where it is generally found below an elevation of 400m. It grows in wet or dry sclerophyll forests and wood lands.

In favourable conditions, Tasmanian blue gum is a tall, straight tree growing to 70 metres high and 2 metres in diameter. The greater part of the trunk and the branches are smooth with the rough bark shedding in strips on the lower parts of tree and persistent at the base. The juvenile leaves are broad, up to 15 cm long and covered with a blue-grey, waxy bloom.

Tasmanian blue gums grows rapidly particularly with intense cultivation. Blue gum plantations, established predominantly for pulp and paper, commonly grow 20 to 30m3 of wood fibre per hectare annually, and young trees can grow 2m in height each year. It is now the world's most widely planted eucalypt.