Eucalyptus spp.

Picture it...

Plants cannot run away from pests and diseases, so they have evolved an impressive arsenal of defensive chemicals in their arms race with insects and herbivores. We take advantage of their ingenuity in many ways and if you are currently laid low by the first autumn sniffles or “Fresher’s Flu”, you may well rely on some of these plant-derived compounds to relief those pesky symptoms while your immune system gets on with the job of mounting its own defence.

1. The image above shows a few twigs of Eucalyptus gunnii, a species of the eucalyptus tree popular in the UK because it is quite frost hardy, quick-growing, evergreen and considered quite attractive, especially its juvenile leaves (shown). These have been fed into a three-necked round-bottomed flasks, which is often used in the synthetic chemistry laboratory as it can be used with a condenser, which prevents the evaporation of solvents…

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