50 – 100′ (old trees to 200′) Rainbow Gum is my favorite tree. I can still remember my first encounter at Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu. There is a beautiful specimen, with its gorgeous multi-hued trunk, placed right when you first walk in. It was love at first site.
Rainbow Gum is unique in the genus being 1 of only 2 species that occur naturally outside of Australia, from Mindanao to New Guinea, in the lush tropical belt. Both species also have unusual leaves for the genus with Rainbow Gums having a bright green pointed oval rather than the more common sickle shaped leaves of others. But it’s the bark that makes this tree a must have. The bark is smooth and multicolored with shades of purple, maroon and orange with bright green when the older bark peels away.
There is a lot of misunderstanding about this tree. I have heard that many people have removed the trees because it sheds limbs. But in my experience these trees mainly shed small young branches and this is how the bark gets so smooth. I find it more of a litter problem if there is any problem at all. Like any big tree do not plant too close to your house. But rake up the young fallen branches and watch the amazing colored trunk grow.