Memories of eucalypts

21 06 2006

Someone on one of my lists wrote about eucalypts in Israel, then someone else from San Francisco compared their smell to cat pee… Here's my response:


If you've ever been to California, you've probably seen eucalypts. They're everywhere there… From southern California to areas north of San Francisco, you can't drive too far without seeing one of those big trees we call "gum trees". An Australian export that has now populated many parts of the world, including South Africa, the Middle East, and the US. And then there's eucalpytus oil which you can probably find in your supermarket or drug store – great for all manner of things, including clearing sinuses and getting scuff marks off shoes! (seriously)

Of course, if you've ever been to Australia, that's about all you see! I don't know how many varieties of eucalypts there are, but it's a lot! The blue of the "Blue Mountains" behind Sydney is a result of the massive amounts of eucalyptus oil given off by milions of trees – it creates the bluish haze. And that oil is what makes them burn so well.

The cat pee smell thing… Never thought of eucalypts like that, but then I've lived with the smell all my life without even knowing it's there. When I lived in Canada for a year, I took some vacation time and drove down the entire west coast of the USA. Somewhere in northern California I came across a stand of gum trees by the side of the highway. I stopped the car, got out, and just scrunched up a heap of leaves in my hands and sniffed long and hard – that smell was wonderful and reminded me so much of home. I ended up tearing off a small switch and keeping it in the rental car for days, having a sniff every so often. It'd been at least 6 months since I'd smelled a eucalypt. Then when I arrived in Sydney after 13 months away, the first thing I smelled as I came out of the airport was eucalypts! I'd never noticed the smell in the air before, but being away for so long without the smell, it really hit me on arrival… so much so I burst into tears! <sob>

More info here:



One response

22 06 2006

Having more than what I think is my fair share of allergies, I use eucalyptus essential oils a lot to get some relief for congested sinuses and respiratory tract. I *never* heard that it was good for dealing with scuffed shoes, so thanks for the tip!!

I’m curious, when you were in Canada and made the trip to California, had you had any feelings of “homesickness” before you smelled the eucalyptus, or did it just open the floodgates?

22 06 2006

1. Scuffed shoes – works best on those white leather shoes with the black scuff marks on the heels that you tend to get (for no reason I’ve figured out yet!). But only use a drop or two and don’t rub too hard otherwise you’ll take the dye out of the leather! Perhaps a couple of drops on a tissue or cotton ball or gauze should do it; maybe even a Q-tip.

2. I really wasn’t homesick during my year in Canada (I’d have to go back to my diaries to check), but I’d been away 6 months when I saw these HUGE trees by the side of the road. And it just hit me how much I missed home -those trees were a big reminder. Another reminder was watching “Out of Africa” at the local cinema in a small Canadian town – in the middle of winter. The scenery from that movie was SO like the Australian landscape, that it brought a tear to my eye as well. I love the green of Canada and the US, but somehow that wide brown land is in my soul!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: