Eucalyptus are trees native to Australia and surrounding regions. They were first brought to the UK in seed form in 1774 to Kew. The seeds and specimens collected at this time where from coastal regions where tolerance to frost was low. This meant that many collected plants did not survive the cold UK winters. It is only in the mid 1800’s when seed from Tasmania was collected (from higher altitude, colder regions) that Eucalyptus plants started to survive here.
It was then that they started to be grown as plantation trees and it was only after WWII that an interest in Eucalyptus as ornamental and foliage tree began.
Since then the importance of seed provenance to increase the hardiness of Gum Trees (collecting wild seeds from the coldest areas) has been recognised, the selection of species available has improved. Many trials, hybridisations and species selections later have left us with the knowledge of the trees that will best survive UK temperatures.
Eucalyptus Trees are now a common sight in the UK as both ornamental trees and as plantation trees grown for firewood and biomass.