Move Over Crepe Myrtle!

Posted on May 27, 2015 by Ed Coughlin

Did you know that Eucalyptus trees are in the same Myrtle family of plants as the Crepe Myrtle? It’s a diverse group that includes Clove, Guava, and Allspice. Now like any good cook, I love my Allspice. And like any Southern Gardener, I love my Crepe Myrtles.  So much that I have 18 ‘Natchez’ lining my driveway. I like the white blooms and fall colors, but have always admired the smooth exfoliating bark on mature trees, especially in the South where a tree’s trunk often plays second fiddle to its flower.

15 year old 'Natchez' Crepe Myrtle

Eucalyptus trees, like their crepe cousins, share a similar blind faith from their admirers. Their evergreen blue to silver to green foliage is fragrant and used for everything from candy making to medicines. It’s a well-deserved first attribute when folks think about Eucs. But one look at a 2 year old Eucalyptus rubida ‘Cab Sav’s’ bark in our McDonough Trials might get you to rethink your priorities. It did me!

2 year old Eucalyptus rubida 'Cab Sav'

The cinnamon and orange paper thin bark that is peeling back to reveal a cream trunk is stunning. Never saw those bright sharp colors and delicate layers on any of my beloved crepes, and those trees lining my driveway are over 15 years old.

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