Leionema viridiflorum

Distribution Map
Family: Rutaceae
Distribution: Open forest in north-eastern New South Wales.
Common Name: No generally accepted common name
Derivation of Name: Leionema...From Greek leios, smooth to the touch, and nema, a thread, referring to the 'hilar strand', which is a small piece of tissue joining the hilum (scar on the side of the seed) to the ovule.
viridiflorum...From Latin viridis, green, and flos, a flower.
Conservation Status: Not currently listed as threatened under the EPBC Act*. Regarded as rare as it occurs in small populations and classified as 3RCa under the ROTAP * system.

General Description:

The genus Leionema comprises 22 species which were previously part of the genus Phebalium. All are endemic to Australia and occur in the eastern half of the continent. Most are small shrubs with very aromatic foliage and produce clusters of small, star-like flowers in the cream to bright yellow range.

Leionema viridiflorum
Leionema viridiflorum
Photo: Brian Walters

Leionema viridiflorum is a small shrub, usually less than 1 metre in height which occurs in fairly dry situations in open forests or woodlands in the Warrumbungle and Mt. Kaputar ranges in northern New South Wales. It has oblong to elliptic leaves up to 40 mm long and 8 mm wide. Together with a few other members of the genus, L.carruthersii is unusual in that it has flowers with prominent stamens which project well beyond the length of the floral tube. In most other species the stamens are shorter and more spreading to give a starry appearance to the flowers. The small flower cluster consist of 6-12 flowers. Flowering occurs in late winter - spring.

Because of its rarity, L.viridiflorum is rarely seen in cultivation but it would make an interesting small shrub for sunny, well drained positions.

In common with most members of the Rutaceae, propagation from seed is difficult but cuttings usually strike readily.


* 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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