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eucalyptus(yo͞o'kəlĭp`təs): see myrtlemyrtle,
common name for the Myrtaceae, a family of shrubs and trees almost entirely of tropical regions, especially in America and Australia. The family is characterized by leaves (usually evergreen) containing aromatic volatile oils. Many have showy blossoms.
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a genus of plants of the family Myrtaceae. The genus consists mainly of evergreen trees frequently reaching a height of 100 m; there are some shrubs. The arrangement and shape of the leaves vary according to the age of the plant. The leaves are always entire, and they are usually fragrant owing to the presence of essential oil. The flowers are regular and bisexual. There are numerous stamens, and the ovary is inferior. The fruit is a capsule consisting of a truncated woody calyx tube to which the ovary is fused.
There are more than 525 species of eucalyptus; they are commonly found in Australia and Tasmania, as well as on neighboring islands. The USSR has more than 30 cultivated species, growing mainly on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus. Almost all subtropical and tropical countries cultivate eucalypts, since the plants yield valuable wood and grow rapidly. Also of economic value are the leaves, which yield essential oil, and the bark, which yields tannins. Eucalyptus oil and eucalyptus teas or tinctures are used medicinally as antiseptic and anti-inflammatory rinses and inhaiants to treat infections of the upper respiratory tract; the medicines are also used to treat wounds and some gynecological disorders. A eucalyptus tincture may also be prescribed to treat inflammation of the mouth and, sometimes, as a sedative.
REFERENCESPilipenko, F. S. “Evkalipt—Eucalyptus L’Herit.” In Derev’ia i kustarniki SSSR, vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.
Maiden, J. H. A Critical Revision of the Genus Eucalyptus, vols. 1–8, parts 1–75. Sydney, 1903–33.
Blakely, W. F. A Key to the Eucalypts, 3rd ed. Canberra, 1965.
Pryor, L. D., and L. A. S. Johnson. A Classification of the Eucalypts. Canberra, 1971.
Johnson, L. A. S. “Presidential Address: Evolution and Classification in Eucalyptus.” Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 1972, vol. 97, part 1, no. 429.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV