Common Name(s): Blue gum, Southern blue gum
Scientific Name: Eucalyptus globulus
Distribution: Tasmania and southern Australia; also widely grown on plantations in subtropical regions
Tree Size: 100-180 ft (30-55 m) tall,
3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter
Average Dried Weight: 51 lbs/ft3 (820 kg/m3)
Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): 0.68, 0.82
Janka Hardness: 2,370 lbf (10,550 N)
Modulus of Rupture: 19,530 lbf/in2 (134.7 MPa)
Elastic Modulus: 2,720,000 lbf/in2 (18.76 GPa)
Crushing Strength: 11,160 lbf/in2 (76.9 MPa)
Shrinkage: Radial: 6.8%, Tangential: 12.8%,
Volumetric: 19.7%, T/R Ratio: 1.9
Color/Appearance: Heartwood is a light yellowish brown. Narrow sapwood is a pale gray/white. Boards with mottled figure are sometimes seen, as well as solid burl sections and veneer.
Grain/Texture: Grain tends to be interlocked, with a uniform medium to coarse texture. Low natural luster.
Rot Resistance: Rated as moderately durable, though susceptible to insect attack.
Workability: Gives moderately good results with hand and machine tools, though boards with interlocked grain (especially on quartersawn surfaces) frequently causes tearout during planing and other surfacing operations. Blue gum tends to have many internal stresses and drying difficulties, and also has a large amount of movement in service, which excludes it from being used in applications where stability is important. Glues and finishes well.
Odor: No characteristic odor.
Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, blue gum has been reported to cause skin irritation. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.
Pricing/Availability: Plantation-grown lumber is regularly available (sometimes sold simply as “eucalyptus”) and is moderately priced for an imported hardwood. Figured boards and burls are likely to be much more expensive.
Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices, and is reported by the IUCN as being a species of least concern.
Common Uses: Utility lumber, pallets, paper (pulpwood), fenceposts, flooring, veneer, and turned objects.
Comments: Sometimes called southern blue gum to help distinguish it from Eucalyptus saligna, commonly called Sydney glue gum. This species also currently has four recognized subspecies:CANBR. (2020). Eucalyptus globulus subsp. globulus. EUCLID.
- Eucalyptus globulus ssp. bicostata—Victorian blue gum
- Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus—Tasmanian blue gum
- Eucalyptus globulus ssp. maidenii—Maiden’s gum
- Eucalyptus globulus ssp. pseudoglobulus—Victorian eurabbie
This fast-growing tree is widely cultivated as a plantation species within Australia and other subtropical climates. Plantation grown lumber tends to be lighter and softer than forest-grown blue gum. The wood is primarily used for pulp and fuel, though some is harvested for woodworking purposes. Blue gum is generally regarded as a utility lumber.
Porosity: diffuse porous
Arrangement: exclusively solitary
Vessels: large to very large, few to very few; tyloses common
Parenchyma: diffuse-in-aggregates and vasicentric (visible parenchyma is generally very minimal)
Rays: narrow width; normal to close spacing
Lookalikes/Substitutes: Can bear a close resemblance to other Eucalyptus plantation species, such as mountain ash (E. regnans) or the hybrid lyptus (E. urograndis). Separation of eucalypts down to a species level can be very difficult and usually isn’t possible on the basis of endgrain anatomy.
Notes: Exclusively solitary pores is a fairly uncommon anatomical feature that can help separate blue gum from a host of other diffuse porous hardwoods.