Austromyrtus tenuifolia

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Open forest in central-eastern New South Wales around the Sydney region, usually in moist areas.
Common Name: Narrow-leaf myrtle.
Derivation of Name: Austromyrtus... From Latin auster, the south, and the genus Myrtus, referring to the geographical distribution of the genus.
tenuifolia... From Latin tenuis, thin or slender, and folium, a leaf.
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild

General Description:

Austromyrtus is a small genus of 3 species, all occurring in Australia. They are small to medium shrubs. A number of species formerly included in Austromyrtus have been reclassified into the genera Gossia and Lenwebbia (eg. see Gossia inophloia).

A.tenuifolia is a shrub from 1 to 2 metres high with linear leaves up to 40 mm long having recurved margins and soft, hairy new growth. The white, five-petalled flowers occur in the upper leaf axils in spring. They are about 7mm in diameter and are followed by fleshy berries, white with purple spots. The fruits are edible and can be used to make jams.

Austromyrtus tenuifolia
Austromyrtus tenuifolia
Photo: Jill Dark

Narrow-leaf myrtle is a very adaptable garden plant suited to temperate and sub-tropical gardens. It is reasonably frost resistant and tolerates a wide range of soils in semi shaded to full sun positions. Its densely-foliaged growth habit makes it useful as an informal hedge. It responds well to pruning.

Propagation can be carried out from cuttings which may be slow to form roots or from seed which should be sown as soon as possible after the berries ripen.


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