|These Eucalypts grace the trail to the park in my neighborhood|
I'd never seen or smelled anything like them. From their papery bark, to their pungent scent I was blown away. And don't get me started on their crazy big, sweet smelling seed pods. We used to string them on heavy thread necklaces using a big darning needle, then find them a few months later, on that shelf or in that shoebox where we left them, having burst into fuzzy blooms.
As a kid, I had no idea that eucalyptus was an Australian import, brought to California to provide quick-growing lumber, create wind breaks and green up the native chaparral. Nor did I know that these projects had been a failure from the wood producers point of view. Though eucalypts do grow quickly, the wood they produce doesn't provide a good harvest for many years.
Eucalyptus planting is discouraged in California these days. As a native plant proponent, I can relate to the issues that surround this Australian native. However, I also think a plant that's been here as long as the eucalypts begin to have some rights of their own. And questions remain about whether or not eucalyptus are truly troublesome.
I wasn't born here myself, and yet I feel as local as anybody born in the state. I'm thinking eucalypts have the same rights as any of us newborn natives.
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