Melaleuca stereophloia

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Melaleuca stereophloia
Melaleuca stereophloia (habit).JPG
M. stereophloia growing 20 km east of Geraldton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Melaleuca
Species: M. stereophloia
Binomial name
Melaleuca stereophloia
(K.J.Cowley) Craven[1]

Melaleuca stereophloia is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is endemic to the south west of Western Australia. It is similar to the broombush, Melaleuca uncinata with its needle-like leaves and heads of yellow to white flowers, but its back is hard and fibrous rather than papery .

Description[edit]

Melaleuca stereophloia is a shrub growing to 4 m (200 in) high with hard, fibrous, grey bark. Its leaves are arranged alternately, 11–44 mm (0.4–2 in) long, 1–2.2 mm (0.04–0.09 in) wide, linear in shape, circular in cross section and tapering near the end with a hooked tip.[2][3]

The flowers are yellow to white and arranged in heads or short spikes on the sides of the branches. Each head contains 4 to 13 groups of flowers in threes and is up to 15–17 mm (0.6–0.7 in) in diameter. The petals are 0.9–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in) long and fall off as the flower matures. There are five bundles of stamens around the flower, each with 3 to 7 stamens. Flowering occurs between August and October and is followed by fruit which are woody capsules, 1.8–2.2 mm (0.07–0.09 in) long in tight, almost spherical clusters.[2][3]

M. stereophloia leaves and flowers
M. stereophloia fruit
M. stereophloia bark

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

Melaleuca stereophloia was first formally described in 1999 by Lyndley Craven in Australian Systematic Botany from a specimen collected 24 kilometres (10 mi) east of Koorda.[4][1] The specific epithet (stereophloia) is from the Ancient Greek words στερεός (stereós) meaning "hard" or "solid"[5]:752 and λοιός (phloiós) meaning “bark”,[5]:123 referring to the hard bark of this species, distinguishing it from Melaleuca uncinata.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Melaleuca stereophloia occurs in and between the Wooramel Station, Meekatharra, Coorow and Koorda districts[2] in the Avon Wheatbelt, Carnarvon, Coolgardie, Geraldton Sandplains, Murchison, Swan Coastal Plain and Yalgoo biogeographic regions[6] where it grows in sand, clay or loam over laterite, granite or sandstone near watercourse, lakes, saltpans and saline areas.[2][6]

Ecology[edit]

Vegetation associations where M. stereophloia is the dominant species in closed shrubland near claypans are habitat for the Slender-billed thornbill, Acanthiza iredalei.[7]

Conservation[edit]

Melaleuca stereophloia is listed as "not threatened" by the Government of Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife.[6]

Uses[edit]

Essential oils[edit]

Melaleuca stereophloia leaves have a high cineole content and may therefore be useful in the production of these compounds for flavourings, medicines and insect repellant.[8]

Brushwood[edit]

This species coppices well and may therefore be useful in brushwood production.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Melaleuca stereophloia". APNI. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brophy, Joseph J.; Craven, Lyndley A.; Doran, John C. (2013). Melaleucas : their botany, essential oils and uses. Canberra: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. p. 340. ISBN 9781922137517. 
  3. ^ a b Holliday, Ivan (2004). Melaleucas : a field and garden guide (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Reed New Holland Publishers. p. 300. ISBN 1876334983. 
  4. ^ Craven, L. A.; Lepschi, B. J. (1999). "Enumeration of the species and infraspecific taxa of Melaleuca (Myrtaceae) occurring in Australia and Tasmania". Australian Systematic Botany. 12 (6): 905. doi:10.1071/SB98019. 
  5. ^ a b Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. 
  6. ^ a b c "Melaleuca stereophloia". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife. 
  7. ^ "Slender-billed Thornbill habitat assessment" (PDF). Western Australian Government Environmental Protection Authority. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "Integrated Brushwood plantings for NRM benefits to farming systems" (PDF). Avongrow; Wheatbelt tree cropping. Retrieved 10 June 2015.