by Dr. Dave Bradshaw, Professor, Department of Horticulture, Clemson University
If you've visited the Fran Hanson Discovery Center here at the South Carolina Botanical Garden, you've ridden right by one of the unusual trees here. I've heard, well I've wondered what that was, so today I'll tell you. We've got a eucalyptus tree in the background and what I like about this particular tree is that is has those wavy, slender limbs that in the rustle of the wind it almost gives you a waterfall sound. And it has a very unusual foliage. The individual leaves can be quite variable. I've had people that thought this was two different kinds of trees growing together. Not so. The round leaves, that you can see there on the stems, have no petiole. And indeed some early stages of the juvenile form, the leaf actually completely surrounds the stem. And as it goes into its teenage years, if you will, it has no petiole but just attached directly to the stem. Then, as it matures into the adult form, the leaves change quite dramatically. They have a petiole, that little piece of stem that attaches the leaf directly to the actual stem and then the leaves are long and lanceolate and quite delicate in the breeze. So in each phase of it's development it has a different foliage form and that's what makes it so unusual and attractive to people. So, if you want one of these and don't have a large place to grow a eucalyptus tree, cut it back to the ground each year and enjoy that juvenile foliage. Come to see us at the Fran Hanson Discovery Center in the South Carolina Botanical Garden and take time to stop and take a look at our eucalyptus tree.
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