Myoporum insulare

Distribution Map
Family: Scrophulariaceae
Distribution: Widespread in southern Australia from Shark Bay in Western Australia to north-eastern New South Wales, usually in coastal heath but a few inland occurrences as well.
Common Name: Common boobialla
Derivation of Name: Myoporum... from Greek myo, to shut, and poros, a pore; ie, 'closed pores' - referring to the appearance of the glands on the leaves.
insulare... From Latin insula, an island and the suffix -aris, pertaining to (ie. occurring on islands or, more generally, coastal, referring to the usual habitat of the species).
Conservation Status: Not considered to be at risk in the wild.

General Description:

Myoporum is a genus of about 30 species, of which sixteen are found in Australia. M.insulare has a variable growth habit and may be a dense or open shrub or small tree to about 6 metres tall. The leaves are lance-shaped to elliptical, from 30-100 mm long by 10-20 mm wide and glossy green in colour. The flowers occur in groups of up to 8 in the leaf axils in late spring and summer and are usually white or occasionally pale pink. The flowers have purple spots in the throat and are about 6-8 mm in diameter. The flowers are followed by fleshy, purple/black fruits up to 10 mm diameter.

Myoporum insulare
Myoporum insulare
Photo: Brian Walters

Myoporum insulare is not widely cultivated but is an adaptable and hardy plant in temperate areas in well drained soils and a sunny or semi-shaded location. It is drought tolerant once established but can be damaged by moderate to heavy frosts. It is suitable for exposed coastal locations. The species is often used as a root stock for Eremophila species.

Propagation from seed is usually successful without any pretreatment but germination may be slow. Cuttings of hardened, current season's growth strike easily and this is the preferred method of propagation.

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