Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Myrtaceae

Citation: Forster & Forster. f., Char. Gen. Pl. 71:t. 36 (1776).

Derivation: Greek leptos, slender; sperma, seed; alluding to the narrow seeds of the type species.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Tea-trees.

Shrubs or slender trees with alternate simple entire leaves.

Flowers on short side-shoots; bracts imbricate; hypanthium glabrous, silky or villous, broad-based or tapering to a stalk-like base; sepals 5, persistent or deciduous; petals 5, usually obovate and often somewhat clawed; stamens in 5 bundles each with the central stamen opposite the petal and the lateral stamens arranged along the edge of the hypanthium to the centre of each neighbouring sepal; anthers versatile, with a small gland behind 2 parallel or divergent cells that open by slits; ovary inferior, with 2 to many cells; the placentas peltate, on the upper part of the central axis and bearing few to many spreading or pendulous anatropous ovules; style simple, the stigma entire or somewhat lobed.

Fruit a capsule opening at the top, the valves stiff and sometimes very woody; seeds linear-cuneate or ovate-cuneate, the testa longitudinally striate or reticulate, occasionally extended to form a ridge or wing.

Distribution:  About 80 species; most Australian (one of these extending to New Zealand) but several found between Thailand and New Guinea.

Biology: No text

Uses: Some species are grown as ornamentals.

Key to Species:
1. Fruit persisting for several seasons, the valves very woody, the seeds linear
2. Leaves with margins incurved and often scabrous, and apex long-tapering
L. sp 1.
2. Leaves with margins recurved, rarely flat, and apex rather abruptly tapering
L. lanigerum 5.
1. Fruit deciduous, rarely persisting beyond one season, the valves scarcely woody, the seeds not linear
3. Young stems tuberculate; fruit with a slender stalk-like base
L. fastigiatum 3.
3. Young stems smooth; fruit with the base broad and rounded
4. Leaves flat, with smooth margins; stamens almost the length of the sepals
5. Leaves acute to obtuse, usually acuminate; fruit usually 4-7- celled
L. coriaceum 2.
5. Leaves with a broad rounded apex; fruit usually 6-1 l-celled L. laevigatum 4
4. Leaves with the margins incurved and minutely tuberculate; stamens much longer than the short sepals
L. myrsinoides 6.

Author: Prepared by J. Thompson

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water