Strawberry Gum, or Eucalyptus olida is one of the newest identified eucalyptus species found in only a small pocket of Australia. The unique flavour comes from the oil-dense leaves which taste fruity, basil-like, and unlike anything you've tried before. It's one of our favourites, and a very rare plant to come by.
Strawberry Gum was indentified as a new species in the early 1990s, and has since grown in popularity as a native ingredient favoured in food manufacturing and distillation. It's rarity has made it very sought after with only a handful of people growing and harvesting them (all by hand). It was first discovered in the Northern Tablelands region of New South Wales in a national park. Apart from the national park, there is one freehold property where Strawberry Gum is naturally found. This makes it one of the most rare Eucalypt species in Australia.
There is little-to-no evidence regarding its historical use. There have been claims that it was chewed by early colonizers and Aboriginal People in recent times, with no oral or written evidence to substantiate this.
Most research with the species centres around chemical composition, more evidence to its story is needed.
A young Strawberry Gum tree in a permaculture setting in Victoria
Photo: Melbourne Bushfood
Part shade/full sun
Planting in pots
Planting in soil
Before planting in the ground, consider the area. The plant will grow to over 30 metres so do not plant next to buildings. The oil-rich leaves combust easy in bushfires.
Dig a hole the same size as the tube your Strawberry Gum arrives in. Break up the soil at the base of the planting hole. Mix in compost and slow releasing native plant fertilizer. Ensure the soil level of the plant is slightly higher than the ground to allow for sinkage. Water well with liquid compost or seaweed.
They are unique in that they naturally grow in regions where the temperature commonly reaches -10 degrees and up to 40 degrees in the summer. Therefore they grow well in a range of climates including tropical, sub-tropical, alpine and temperate climates.
Planting from seed
Strawberry Gum hybridizes easily with other nearby Eucalyptus species. Many eucalyptus species are toxic and hybridization can be toxic. We suggest only buying plants from nurseries.