Designer eucalypts are being developed by University of Adelaide researchers that are more suitable for home gardens and urban landscaping.
Dr Kate Delorte is leading the project at the Waite campus, with researchers and nurseries developing cheaper and more efficient ways of propagating eucalypts with certain flower colours, sizes and forms.
“Only through producing improved cultivars, propagated using methods like grafting and tissue culture, can we guarantee that the buyer knows what they are getting in terms of flower colour and tree size and shape,” she said.
Dr Delaporte said there was great potential for these plants to be used more in gardens and urban areas as they provide habitat for native birds, insects and animals, but there were only a small number of improved eucalypts currently available.
The new method of propagation comes from germinating seeds in culture and propagating from the initial seedlings, rather than propagating from tissue culture taken from Maureen eucalypts, which has unreliable.
“There’s so much opportunity to bring new eucalypts into the garden, all with bright flower colours, attractive foliage, bark and nuts, that are a good small size,” Dr Delaporte said.
The trees being designed for urban environments must be tested for issues including dropping limbs before they will be released commercially.