Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Along with other genera in the tribe Eucalypteae, they are commonly known as eucalypts. Plants in the genus Eucalyptus have bark that is either smooth, fibrous, hard or stringy, leaves with oil glands, and sepals and petals that are fused to form a “cap” or operculum over the stamens. The fruit is a woody capsule commonly referred to as a “gumnut”.
Most species of Eucalyptus are native to Australia, and every state and territory has representative species. About three-quarters of Australian forests are eucalypt forests. Wildfire is a feature of the Australian landscape and many eucalypt species are adapted to fire, and resprout after fire or have seeds which survive fire.
A few species are native to islands north of Australia and a smaller number are only found outside the continent. Eucalypts have been grown in plantations in many other countries because they are fast growing and have valuable timber, or can be used for pulpwood, for honey production or essential oils. In some countries, however, they have been removed because they are highly flammable.