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Australian Plants online

On the Brink - 4

A series on Australian Plants at risk in their natural habitat.

Prostanthera teretifolia

Prostanthera is a genus of about 90 species in the Lamiaceae family. All members of the genus are found only in Australia but related genera from other parts of the world are well known as culinary herbs such as mint, thyme, oregano and sage. Most prostantheras also have aromatic foliage are are commonly called "mint bushes"

Prostantheras are usually small to medium shrubs. A few species are widely cultivated and others are well known to native plant enthusiasts.

Prostanthera teretifolia   

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Prostanthera teretifolia has a restricted distribution in the New England area of New South Wales on granite outcrops. Under the ROTAP* coding system it is classified as "2V" meaning that it occurs over a range of less than 100 km and is at risk of disappearing from the wild in 20-50 years if current land use patterns continue. The species is not currently listed under the Australian Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

P.teretifolia is a small shrub up to 1 metre high but it may occasionally reach 2 metres. Leaves are linear and rounded in cross-section and up to 15mm long. They are grey-green in colour and highly aromatic. The flowers are usually deep purple (sometimes mauve) and flowering occurs mainly in spring. The plant is similar to another mint bush from the same general area, P.staurophylla. Some botanists consider that the two should be regarded as a single species. This species has not been cultivated to a great extent but is a very attractive plant which deserves greater attention. Like many mint bushes it can be difficult to maintain in gardens for long periods. It prefers a well drained, moist position with some shelter from direct summer sun.

* ROTAP: Rare or Threatened Australian Plants (1988). J.D.Briggs and J.H.Leigh, CSIRO Division of Plant Industry (Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Special Publication No.14).


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Australian Plants online - December 2002
Association of Societies for Growing Australian Plants