1960 � Lisbon, Portugal � Ernesto da Silva Goes, Portuguese Forestry Engineer, publishes �Os Eucaliptos em Portugal�. He describes some of the old specimens planted a century earlier and still standing at Vale de Canas National Forest. Among them the Karri Knight: �In our country a [Eucalyptus diversicolor] specimen tree exists at Mata Nacional de Vale de Canas, near Coimbra, with a very straight trunk, more than 65 meters height and 1.2 meters diameter at breast height �.


2003 � Lisbon, Portugal � Joao Rocha Pinho(et al), Direcçao-Geral das Florestas do Ministerio de Agricultura de Portugal, describes the Karri Knight as �planted by the end of 19th century, reaching 75 meters height and more than 30 meters of clean trunk, it is the tallest tree in Europe�.


2005 � Coimbra , Portugal � A devastating forestry fire reduces to ashes 80% of National Forest of Vale de Canas. Miraculously, the Karri Knight survives unscathed.



Eucalyptus diversicolor Vale de Canas Coimbra Giant Karri Tallest Tree in Europe


Karri Forest Eucalyptus diversicolor Western Australia
1829 � Swan River, western shores of New Holland � First privately funded settlement in Australia. Fremantle is founded in Western Australia. Some months later, Perth. 1500 free colonists live there by 1832. Conscript labour force will be demanded by 1846.

1847 � Bremen , Germany � Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich Mueller (1825-1896), Freiherr von Müller, German botanist and pharmacist, departs en route to Southern Australia . By 1853 he will be based in Melbourne as Government Botanist of Victoria . From 1857 to 1873 he will direct Melbourne 's Botanical Gardens, become a key reference on Australian flora for visitors and correspondents from overseas and will be a life long promoter of the distribution of Eucalyptus seeds and knowledge worldwide. He would be later honoured four times with E. muelleri (Miquel, 1856; Naudin, 1885; Moore, 1885; Deane, 1902) and one with E. muelleriana (Howitt, 1890).


1856 � Perth, Western Australia � The first of 31 vessels delivering conscript labour force arrives. Up to 9668 workers would arrive until 1868. Among their activities, logging of jarrah (E. marginata) and karri (E. diversicolor) forests both as a timber resource and to clear land for agricultural use. First giants are discovered.


Eucalyptus diversicolor Vale de Canas Coimbra Giant Karri Tallest Tree in Europe

1863 � Melbourne, Australia � Mueller describes karri samples recently collected by Augustus Frederick Oldfield (1829-1887) at Wilson's Inlet in Western Australia as E. diversicolor. His collector would be later honoured with E. oldfieldii .
1866 � Coimbra , Portugal � Planting of thirty five thousand eucalypts as corrective measure to control soil erosion does begin along the margins of River Mondego and at Mata do Choupal. It would last up to 1870. First cultivated forests of Eucalyptus in Portugal are established .
1867 � Coimbra, Portugal � Mata Real do Vale de Canas (Royal Forest of the Valley of Canas ) is acquired by the Portuguese Government and becomes Mata Nacional as source of pine timber needed for hydraulic works against flooding being implemented at Choupal. Between 1866-1870 it will be reafforested with both native and exotic plants, some sourced from France and Germany under the guidance of Manoel Afonso D'Esgueira in collaboration with the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra. From Australia seeds of 32 species of Myrtaceae, including Eucalyptus, will be sourced.
1869 � Melbourne, Australia � Mueller describes further samples of gigantic specimens of karri as E. colossea . Some years later he would write on karri: "One of the grandest trees of the globe and one of the grandest wonders in the whole creation of plants! Astounding records on the height of this tree have been given. Messrs. Muir saw trees with stems 300 feet long up to the first branch, and I myself noticed many trees which approached 400 feet in their total height".
  Eucalyptus collection in Portugal Coimbra Botanical Gardens Jardim Botanico    

1873 - Melbourne, Australia � William Robert Guilfoyle (1840-1912), English landscape gardener and botanist, is appointed curator of the Royal Botanical Gardens replacing Mueller. He would expand and develop the gardens for aesthetic and recreational purposes. He will be later honoured with E. guilfoylei (Maiden, 1911).


1873 � Coimbra , Portugal � Prof. Júlio Henriques (?- 1928) becomes director of Coimbra Botanical Gardens until 1918. During his directorship a high number of herbarium samples and seed exchanges are performed with the Royal Botanical Gardens of Melbourne. Soon an important collection of Eucalyptus will develop with up to 51 different species, one of the most important in European gardens.


1879 � London, England � First publishing of �Eucalyptographia: a descriptive atlas of the Eucalypts of Australia and the adjoining islands � by Mueller. It will be finished by 1884, and will become the first specialised text on eucalypts widely available in Europe. He would state about E. diversicolor: �It became distinguished temporarily as E. colossea, under which very impressive designation it chiefly still passes in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea, where this noble Eucalypt, with numerous other species, was first introduced by the writer �


Eucalyptus diversicolor Vale de Canas Coimbra Giant Karri Tallest Tree in Europe

1880 � Abrantes , Portugal � The biggest Eucalyptus forest in Europe to date becomes established. Six hundred hectares are planted with Eucalyptus in Nova Australia
2007 � Spain & Portugal � Some 1.3 billion Eucalyptus, mainly E. globulus, grow in cultivated forests scattered along the coasts of Atlantic Iberia. A small number of them, survivors of the early days of gum tree discovery and acclimation or proof of impressive growth, are heritage trees. Some of these colossal plants, but not all, are fully protected as natural monuments.
USEFUL LINK: Jardim Botânico da Universidade de Coimbra
Postal stamp image courtesy of the Australian National Botanical Gardens. Coimbra Botanical Gardens image courtesy of Portuguese Eyes and available thanks to Flickr's Creative Commons
If interested in visiting these and other monumental Eucalyptus in Northwestern Spain & Portugal just contact us. We are always glad to go back to those places!
© 2007 Gustavo Iglesias Trabado - GIT Forestry Consulting - Consultoría y Servicios de Ingeniería Agroforestal - EUCALYPTOLOGICS