Eucalypts – they’re smarter than you think. Scientists have uncovered a Yellowbox eucalyptus tree that is able to change the smell of its leaves from one side of the tree to the other to protect itself from predators.
The finding, published in the online journal BMC Plant Biology, answers a 20-year-old mystery surrounding a eucalypt tree in a sheep paddock at Yeoval, New South Wales.
The tree at the centre of the study was almost totally defoliated by insects in 1990, but one branch was left completely untouched.
Researchers say the eucalypt, which was estimated to be 75 years old, had developed the ability known as ‘genetic mosaicism’, altering its genes as a survival mechanism to control attacks and allow parts to survive.
It’s just another in the long list of the eucalypt’s super talents – with the ability to withstand high salinity, bush fire and drought, eucalypts are one of Australia’s toughest native species (just like many Aussies themselves, we think!).
Did you know Bosisto’s is planting millions of new eucalypts that have higher oil yield in order to radically increase eucalyptus oil production in Australia? To learn more about Bosisto’s Super Trees project and the development of this high-yeilding Blue Mallee species, click here.