Leptospermum macrocarpum

Distribution Map
Family: Myrtaceae
Distribution: Blue Mountains near Sydney, New South Wales.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name
Derivation of Name: Leptospermum...from Greek leptos, thin and sperma, a seed, a reference to the small seeds.
macrocarpum...from Greek macro, large and carpa, a fruit referring to the large seed capsules.
Conservation Status: Not currently listed as threatened under the EPBC Act*. Regarded as rare as it occurs in small populations - probable classification 2R under the ROTAP * system.

General Description:

Leptospermum is a genus of about 83 species, all but three occurring in Australia. They are commonly known as 'tea trees' due to the practice of early European settlers of using the leaves of some species as a tea substitute.

Leptospermum macrocarpum

Leptospermum macrocarpum
Leptospermum macrocarpum. The lower image shows the range of colour forms and flower sizes often found in the wild.
Photos: Brian Walters

Leptospermum macrocarpum (formerly known as L.lanigerum var.macrocarpum) is a medium shrub to about 1.5 metres by a similar width. Leaves are generally oval-shaped to around 20 mm long. The 5-petalled flowers are much larger than is typical for the genus being about 25 mm diameter with numerous small stamens surrounding the central stigma. The flowers may be white, pink or red with a green centre. Flowers are followed by large, woody fruits containing many seeds; the fruits remain unopened until they are removed from the plant or the plant dies.

Leptospermum macrocarpum is not common in cultivation but deserves to be widely grown. It is a hardy shrub for moist soils in temperate climates. Plants prefer full sun or partial shade and may be pruned severely if necessary.

Propagation is easy from both seed and cuttings. However, as the various colour forms occur together in the wild, seed cannot be guaranteed to produce plants true to the flower colour of the parent. .

* EPBC Act = Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
  ROTAP = Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (Briggs and Leigh, 1988)
  For further information refer the Australian Plants at Risk page

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