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Branching Out with the Rainbow Tree

Hawaii is known for its rainbows. But on trees?!

Originally hailing from the rainforests of the Philippines, the Eucalyptus deglupta, more commonly know as the rainbow gum or rainbow eucalyptus is famous for its jaw dropping color scheme. The unique rainbow tree reveals bright shades of green, blue, purple, orange and maroon, as patches of its bark shed throughout the year.

Hawaii hosts many of these beautiful shrubs that can grow to an over-elming height of 200 feet! Many consider the rainbow eucalyptus the most beautiful tree on earth. There is no mistaking this tree-mendous wonder of nature as patches of its bark shed, streaks of pastel green and light hues of tickle-me pink show through the thin bark scaling vertically up the trees slender trunk.

The rainbow eucalyptus or Eucalyptus deglupta, is the only eucalyptus species found in the Northern Hemisphere. It can be spotted throughout the Hawaiian Islands since it thrives in a tropical rain forest environment. You can find these magical trees towering over the Oahu Dole Plantation, Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, as well as the Honolulu Zoo – as well as on the side of the road of many Roberts Hawaii tours.

You won’t believe your eyes when you first spot the vibrant shades of the rainbow eucalyptus. This ornamental tree is cultivated mainly for its pulpwood used in making white paper. Although many grow this eye-catching plant in tropical and subtropical gardens and parks, it is not resistant to frosts therefore not easily grown outside of its natural habitat.

The striking rainbow effect of the Eucalyptus deglupta is ever changing in constant rhythm with the varying seasons. As the eucalyptus bark slowly ages, the layers are peeled away to reveal the new and fresh green bark underneath. As a result, the tree will never display the same color pattern twice, making it a true one-of-a-kind piece of art.

Thriving on an abundance of water, the ideal location for planting a rainbow eucalyptus is near freshwater ponds, lakes, or canals. It is only with a vast amount of water that these trees can become their most luxuriant. Although a part of the eucalyptus species, the rainbow eucalyptus produces none of the aromatic oils that other eucalypts possess.

Go out on a limb and look for these magical plants on your next visit to the islands!

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