I must confess that I wasn't really prised to my garden bench for a whole month, I was on an unforgettable trip to Australia. The photo above was taken from a distance and you can just make out the little fellow sitting up high in the tree. We were very fortunate to have seen this lovely koala and more of his friends and family, in their wild habitat on Kangaroo Island, which lies south of Adelaide. A lifetime ambition has now been fulfilled.
Eucalyptus, or gum trees, are the most characteristic feature of the Australian flora. It grows to 115 metres (375 feet) and has a smooth blue-grey trunk, and long, narrow leathery leaves with a bluish-green hue and many oil glands. Flowering during late summer, it also produces fruit shaped like spinning tops and coated with powdery wax.
Yorkshireman and Australian emigrant, Joseph Bosito, first discovered the volatile oils in Eucalyptus in 1848, and began distilling them. Commercial production started in Victoria in 1860 and, since then, out of the 300 species discovered, 30 have found medicinal use.
The tree's amazing ability to dry out marshy soil also led to its use in eradicating the malaria mosquito in Africa, southern Europe, and India.