Believe it or not, this isn’t the work of an artist. This is the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree (Eucalyptus deglupta), famous for its exceptional colour making it look like something from Narnia. The tree is truly a living dynamic piece of natural art, but how does it get this bizarre appearance? Unlike most trees we are familiar with that have thick ‘corky’ bark, the Rainbow Eucalyptus has smooth and thin bark. It frequently exfoliates these thin layers. As the newly exposed bark ages slowly it changes colour, beginning with bright green and darker green, then bluish to purplish, then pink and orange, before it finally reaches a brownish maroon and falls off. These individual slices of bark are constantly changing at different rates meaning the tree is always changing colour and there is always a great range of colours.
The myriad shades on the trunks were captured in close-up by a nature photographer on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.
The trees shed patches of bark at different times throughout the year, revealing a bright green layer.The inner bark then darkens and matures into shades of blue, orange and maroon.
Nature photographer Warren Krupsaw, 70, who went in search of the trees while celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary on Hawaii, said witnessing the effect up close left him stunned.
As a nature photographer I had seen pictures of these remarkable trees before, and I was hoping to spot some on my own,’ he said.’I had spoken to someone who knew of them and I had an idea where to find them on the island.
Vibrant: When the trees shed their outer bark, a bright green inner coat is revealed, which gradually matures to shades of blue, purple, orange and maroon
Colourful: These incredible ‘rainbow’ eucalyptus trees were spotted in Kauai, Hawaii
‘Amazement’: The photographs were taken after an afternoon rain shower, with the ‘saturated’ bark resulting in ‘saturated’ colour
Picturesque: The trees shed patches of bark at different times throughout the year
When I first saw the trees, my initial thought was one of amazement – I had never seen such colourful bark,’ said Mr Krupsaw, who took the photographs just after an afternoon rain shower.
The photographer, from Bluemont, Virginia, said he was delighted with the results.
‘It was clearing after a brief late-afternoon rain shower, exactly the conditions a serious photographer would hope for as the saturated bark resulted in saturated colours,’ he said.
Intense colour: Nature photographer Warren Krupsaw said his initial reaction to the trees’ rainbow bark was ‘amazement’
Shedding: Rainbow eucalyptus trees can be found in the northern hemisphere, but the species’ natural distribution is throughout Southeast Asia and Indonesia
Mr Krupsaw said he had been unsure whether a photograph could do justice to the spectacular effect of the trees in real life.
‘I only know what catches my eye,’ he said.
‘Most people I’ve spoken to about the trees have trouble believing such a thing is real.
‘The tall trees are found in the northern hemisphere, and its natural distribution spans Indonesia and South East Asia.
Beauty of nature: The 70-year-old photographer took the spectacular shots while celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary on Hawaii
Texture: This close-up shot of one of the trees reveals bright splashes of orange, purple and green
Foliage: The extraordinary effect is created when ‘rainbow’ eucalyptus trees, seen here before the patches appeared, begin to shed their bark to reveal bright colours beneath
The island of Kauai, where the trees were found