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The Tasmanian cider gum or Eucalyptus gunnii is a frost tolerant eucalypt tree, native to the cool moderate climates of the Tasmanian mountains and higher regions of New South Wales. Cider gum is sometimes also known as cider tree or sugar gum and less often as swamp gum or white gum. With up to 30 m it is of medium size with straight growth and smooth bark. Its young leaves are silvery to blue-grey and oval, mature leaves are grey-green and ovate to lanceolate. They have the typical eucalyptus aroma but are less suited for destillation of essential oils than other species. Cider gums produce a sweet sugary syrup. In spring, when the largest amount of syrup is produced, Aborigines drill holes in the trunk and collect the sap. It may be eaten straight from the tree or boiled down to a thick syrup. If it is stored in closed jars, it ferments and tastes similar to apple cider.

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Commercial potential of cider gum

In colonial times, white settlers imitated the native Aborigines and collected syrup from Eucalyptus gunnii trees. Since then this knowledge has almost disappeared. Today discussions are arising about the commercial potential of growing cider gum. It has been said that cider gum might once have a similar commercial importance for Australia to that of maple syrup for Canada. The first small plantations have been planted but at the moment there is no commercial supplier of cider gum syrup or cider yet.

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