Leptospermum

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Leptospermum
Leptospermum squarrosum.jpg
Leptospermum squarrosum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Leptospermum
J.R.Forster & G.Forster
Synonyms[1]

Leptospermum /ˌlɛptɵˈspɜrməm/[2] is a genus of shrubs and small trees in the myrtle family Myrtaceae described as a genus in 1775.[3][4] Most species are endemic to Australia, with the greatest diversity in the south of the continent; but one species extends to New Zealand, another well into Southeast Asia, and L. recurvum is found only in Malaysia and Indonesia.[1]

They are shrubs or occasionally small trees, reaching 1–8 m (3–26 ft) tall, rarely up to 20 m (66 ft), with dense branching. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, sharp-tipped, and small, in most species not over 1 cm long. The flowers are up to 3 cm diameter, with five white, pink or red petals.

Uses[edit]

The common name tea tree for the Leptospermum species derives from the practice of early Australian settlers who soaked the leaves of several species in boiling water to make an herbal tea rich in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).[citation needed] It is said[who?] that Captain Cook brewed tea of Leptospermum leaves to prevent scurvy among his crews.

The nectar from the flowers is harvested by bees; this is used to make Leptospermum honey. Honey produced from Australian Leptospermum polygalifolium, also known as jelly bush or the lemon-scented tea tree, has been found to contain up to 1750 mg/kg of 'methylglyoxal' (MGO), an antibacterial compound. [5]

In Australia, Leptospermum species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus, including A. lewinii and A. ligniveren. These burrow horizontally into the trunk then vertically down.

Most Leptospermum species make desirable garden plants. The hardiest species (L. lanigerum, L. liversidgei, L. polygalifolium, L. rupestre, L. scoparium) are hardy to about −8 °C (18 °F) to −10 °C (14 °F); others are sensitive to frost. They tolerate most soils (but many supplies specify ericaceous (i.e. lime-free) compost) and exposures with good drainage and full sun. Established plants are drought tolerant. They are often found as hedge plants on the west coast of the United States, and some species are popular for cultivation as bonsai. Many cultivars exist.

General Use

These flowers are also grown in double cultivars and they look great in all floral designs. However, they do not last when out of water and the single flowers do not last when wired. The 'Pacific Beauty' (Leptospermum poolgalifolium) is a useful flower to use in large church-service bowls and function arrangements, however use of Leptospermum in corporate designs is less desirable as they dry and drop when subjected to heating and air conditioning.

Species[edit]

accepted species[1]
  1. Leptospermum anfractum - Qld
  2. Leptospermum arachnoides - Qld NSW
  3. Leptospermum argenteum - NSW
  4. Leptospermum barneyense - Qld
  5. Leptospermum benwellii - NSW
  6. Leptospermum blakelyi - NSW
  7. Leptospermum brachyandrum - Qld NSW
  8. Leptospermum brevipes - Qld NSW Vic
  9. Leptospermum confertum - WA
  10. Leptospermum continentale - NSW Vic SA
  11. Leptospermum coriaceum - NSW Vic SA
  12. Leptospermum crassifolium - Budawang Range
  13. Leptospermum deanei - NSW
  14. Leptospermum deuense - NSW
  15. Leptospermum divaricatum - NSW
  16. Leptospermum emarginatum - NSW Vic
  17. Leptospermum epacridoideum - NSW
  18. Leptospermum erubescens - WA
  19. Leptospermum exsertum - WA
  20. Leptospermum fastigiatum - WA SA
  21. Leptospermum glabrescens - East Gippsland
  22. Leptospermum glaucescens - Tas
  23. Leptospermum grandiflorum - Tas
  24. Leptospermum grandifolium - NSW Vic
  25. Leptospermum gregarium - Qld NSW
  26. Leptospermum incanum - WA
  27. Leptospermum inelegans - WA
  28. Leptospermum javanicum - Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines
  29. Leptospermum jingera - Vic
  30. Leptospermum juniperinum - Qld NSW
  31. Leptospermum laevigatum - NSW Vic SA Tas
  32. Leptospermum lamellatum - Qld
  33. Leptospermum lanigerum - Qld NSW Vic SA Tas
  34. Leptospermum liversidgei - Qld NSW
  35. Leptospermum luehmannii - Qld
  36. Leptospermum macgillivrayi - Coolgardie
  37. Leptospermum macrocarpum - NSW
  38. Leptospermum madidum - Qld WA NT
  39. Leptospermum maxwellii - WA
  40. Leptospermum microcarpum - Qld NSW
  41. Leptospermum micromyrtus - NSW Vic
  42. Leptospermum minutifolium - Qld NSW
  43. Leptospermum morrisonii - NSW
  44. Leptospermum multicaule - NSW Vic
  45. Leptospermum myrsinoides - NSW Vic SA
  46. Leptospermum myrtifolium - NSW Vic
  47. Leptospermum namadgiensis - NSW
  48. Leptospermum neglectum - Qld
  49. Leptospermum nitens - WA
  50. Leptospermum nitidum - Tas
  51. Leptospermum novae-angliae - Qld NSW
  52. Leptospermum obovatum - NSW Vic
  53. Leptospermum oligandrum - WA
  54. Leptospermum oreophilum - Qld
  55. Leptospermum pallidum - Qld
  56. Leptospermum parviflorum - NG Qld WA NT
  57. Leptospermum parvifolium - NSW
  58. Leptospermum petersonii - Qld NSW
  59. Leptospermum petraeum - NSW
  60. Leptospermum polyanthum - NSW
  61. Leptospermum polygalifolium - Qld NSW LHI
  62. Leptospermum purpurascens - Qld
  63. Leptospermum recurvum - Sabah, Sulawesi
  64. Leptospermum riparium - Tas
  65. Leptospermum roei - WA
  66. Leptospermum rotundifolium - NSW
  67. Leptospermum rupestre - Tas
  68. Leptospermum rupicola - NSW
  69. Leptospermum scoparium - Vic NSW Tas New Zealand (North + South + Chatham Is)
  70. Leptospermum sejunctum - NSW
  71. Leptospermum semibaccatum - Qld NSW
  72. Leptospermum sericatum - Qld
  73. Leptospermum sericeum - WA
  74. Leptospermum speciosum - Qld NSW
  75. Leptospermum spectabile - NSW
  76. Leptospermum sphaerocarpum - NSW
  77. Leptospermum spinescens - WA
  78. Leptospermum squarrosum - NSW
  79. Leptospermum subglabratum - NSW
  80. Leptospermum subtenue - WA
  81. Leptospermum thompsonii - NSW
  82. Leptospermum trinervium - Qld NSW Vic
  83. Leptospermum turbinatum - Vic
  84. Leptospermum variabile - Qld NSW
  85. Leptospermum venustum - Qld
  86. Leptospermum whitei - Qld NSW
  87. Leptospermum wooroonooran - Qld

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ Forster, Johann Reinhold & Forster, Johann Georg Adam. 1775. Characteres Generum Plantarum 71–72, pl. 36
  4. ^ Tropicos, Leptospermum J.R. Forst. & G. Forst.
  5. ^ Native honey a sweet antibacterial, Australian Geographic, March 3, 2011.