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.
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.
Photo: Jill Dark