San Diego’s Eucalyptus Bubble
October 1, 1970
Cover: The reputed tallness of the Eucalyptus was illustrative of many tall tales that characterized over fifty years of determined differential ballyhoo about the trees. During the post civil war years they were widely publicized as growing to 480 feet in height”the tallest trees in the world.” Kinney, an expert on the species, gave the same figure in the main text of his book, Eucalyptus, published in 1895. In an addendum to the volume, however, he noted that other authorities had corrected him to the effect that 350 feet was the maximum height. The California coast redwood, sequoia semper virens, is actually the tallest tree in the world.
Leland Stanford’s article on San Diego’s Eucalyptus Bubble discusses some twenty-six other popular illusions about the values of these trees — illusions which account in part for San Diego’s abundance of eucalyptus trees.
Page 13. Wood for fuel cut from a Blue Gum grove, 1902.
Page 14. Cabin constructed of eucalyptus, 1902
Page 17. City park, now Balboa Park, on Arbor Day, November 6, 1904.
Page 17. Balboa Park eleven years later. The eucalyptus and other greenery transformed San Diego’s barren and dry land into a beautiful park.
Page 18. Rancho Santa Fe Grove in 1930.
(Title Insurance and Trust Company)