Teak vs. Eucalyptus: The Key Differences

Eucalyptus Leaves
© Aslam 360/Shutterstock.com

Written by Nixza Gonzalez

Published: October 19, 2022

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Teak and eucalyptus plants are very different, but they are easily confused with each other. They are both different types of trees, although some species of eucalyptus are shrubs. Both flower and have wonderful uses and long histories. For example, some of the oldest trees in the world are teak trees!

But what are the full and detailed differences between each? How can you tell them apart? In this article, we will be reviewing the key differences between teak and eucalyptus.

Comparing Teak vs. Eucalyptus

Teak and eucalyptus trees differ in classification, appearance, uses, origin, and growing preferences.
TeakEucalyptus
Scientific ClassificationThe scientific name is Tectona grandis. This plant belongs to the Lamiaceae family and the Tectona genus.The scientific name is Eucalyptus globulus. This plant belongs to the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) and is a genus.
DescriptionIt is a tall tree species with luscious leaves. Teak trees grow up to 131 feet tall. The flowers are small and white, rarely growing larger than 1 inch long. They are super fragrant and grow alongside long green leaves.Eucalyptus trees all look very different, depending on the type, but they usually start from one trunk. The bark is textured and in about half of the species; it dies every year and reveals fresh living bark. The leaves are long, green, and covered in oil glands.
UsesTeak wood is used to build boats, furniture, frames, and more.Eucalyptus wood is used as firewood and as a material for building furniture. The oil is also used for perfumes and fuel.
Origin and Growing PreferencesBurma, Laos, Thailand, and IndiaAustralia, the Philippines, New Guinea, and Indonesia

Key Differences Between Teak vs. Eucalyptus

Did you know teak and eucalyptus trees have more differences than similarities? We will explore these differences by common categories like classification, description, uses, and origin and growing preferences.

Teak vs. Eucalyptus: Classification

Eucalyptus Leaves

Eucalyptus belongs to the

Myrtaceae

family, also known as the myrtle family.

©Aslam 360/Shutterstock.com

Teak and eucalyptus trees belong to entirely different families. These trees are part of the Lamiaceae family. Some other members of the Lamiaceae family are sage, lavender, and oregano. These trees are also part of the Tectona genus. Eucalyptus on the other hand belongs to the Myrtaceae family, also known as the myrtle family. Guava and clove plants belong to this family. Unlike teak trees, eucalyptus is a genus with over 700 species.

Teak vs. Eucalyptus: Description

Teak Garden, Teak Tree

Teak trees grow up to 131 feet tall and are very wide because of their thick foliage.

©iStock.com/naumax

Pinpointing what a eucalyptus tree or shrub looks like is different, especially since there are over 700 species. However, teak trees have a distinct look. They are flowering tropical hardwood trees with bunches of small, white, and fragrant flowers. Teak is very fragrant. The wood smells like leather when it is pressed and processed for use. Teak trees also grow up to 131 feet tall and are very wide because of their thick foliage. Teak leaves are ovular, long, and wide, sometimes stretching over 17 inches!

Eucalyptus trees vary in shape, size, and color. However, the most common eucalyptus plants are evergreen trees or shrubs with long lime-green leaves covered in oil glands. The leaves also usually form in pairs opposite from each other. Eucalyptus flowers look very different from teak tree flowers. For instance, eucalyptus flowers do not have petals and instead have lots of white, pink, red, or yellow stamens. They produce woody and thick fruit, which opens and spreads sticky yellow-brown seeds.

Teak vs. Eucalyptus: Uses

You may have heard of teak and eucalyptus essential oils, they are growing in popularity. These two trees, though have other uses. Teak trees, for instance, are used to build boats. The wood has been used for over 2,000 years. In India, teak wood is used to construct columns and beams in homes since it is resistant to termites. You can also use teak leaves when making popular dishes like Pellakai Gatti (jackfruit dumpling) and gudeg.

The uses for eucalyptus are endless. These trees are continuously grown in forests for their unique ability to grow even when cut down just above the roots. They are fast-growing and thrive in conditions outside of their native areas. Some companies use eucalyptus wood to make strong and valuable fences and firewood. It is also a common material for pulpwood to make pulp. Eucalyptus oil naturally repels bugs like mosquitos and is used in commercial repellent.

Teak vs. Eucalyptus: Origin and Growing Preferences

Cider Gum

Eucalyptus trees are diverse and can be grown almost anywhere.

©iStock.com/soniabonet

So, do these two plants grow in the same area? Teak trees are native to Burma, Laos, Thailand, and India. While this is true, it grows well in the Caribbean and some countries in Africa. These plants prefer arid conditions but can withstand heavy rain. They need a lot of direct sunlight and fertile, well-draining soil. Although they are not from the United States, you can grow them in the USDA zone 10b in low altitudes.

Eucalyptus trees are diverse and can be grown almost anywhere. However, most eucalyptus plants are from Australia. Some select species are native to the Philippines, New Guinea, and Indonesia. Under the right conditions, these trees can grow about 15 feet per year, easily reaching 60 feet in their lifetime. While eucalyptus trees are not native to the U.S, they thrive in USDA zones 8-11. Some varieties are perfect for containers and small spaces like yellow gum trees.

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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