Coming from a country of four seasons, where conifers are one of the few trees that keep their leaves/needles all year, I am intrigued by the eucalyptus trees of Australia. In our travels along the populated southern corridors, we have seen only a fraction of the more than 800 species of gum trees.
To a gum tree newbie, they all look pretty much the same, with their grey-green leaves and mottled trunks. Gradually they begin to sort themselves out, though only into broad categories. The leaves have different shapes. The flowers and nuts vary. While they are all fragrant, they have different aromas. Some trunks are straight. Others twist and curve. Some shed their bark in long strings, others in patches. The bark of some species is smooth, in others, rough.
In a bushfire, gum trees burn hot and fast, but they are not consumed. Before many months pass, green shoots appear on blackened trunks. Ferns uncurl from the ashes. Young trees grow quickly. Within a few years the forest is green again.
One thing the dizzying variety of gum trees have in common is that Australian expatriates or travelers get misty-eyed when they catch the scent of eucalyptus.
An excellent Web site for those wanting to know more about gum trees is the EUCLID site.
The photos here are only a sampling of the over 800 species of gums as well as a few of their arboreal cousins.