Gossia is a genus of rainforest plants found in Australia and the Pacific islands with about 20 species occurring in Australia. Members of the genus were formerly included in Austromyrtus and may still be referred to by the earlier name. Gossia inophloia was previously known as Austromyrtus inophloia.
Gossia inophloia is small to medium shrub to about 1.5-2 metres tall with a slightly weeping habit. The leaves are broadly oval-shaped, to about 30mm long by 18mm wide, dark green with a reddish mid rib. The new growth is often pink to bronze in colour. The small white flowers are about 7 mm in diameter and appear from the leaf axils in spring to early summer, but they are relatively inconspicuous.
A popular cultivar of this species, known as ‘Blushing Beauty’, has extremely attractive burgundy coloured new foliage and the colour is retained for many months. Another similar cultivar is known as ‘Aurora’.
G.inophloia is an attractive foliage plant for a shady to semi shady area. It will tolerate more exposed positions but the foliage (its main attraction) can be damaged in such positions. It seems to be adaptable to most reasonably drained soils and will tolerate at least moderate frost. A potential problem which has surfaced recently is the susceptability of cultivars of this species to myrtle rust. This fungus (Puccinia psidii)) was first observed in Australia on the central coast of New South Wales in 2010. According to the NSW Department of Industry and Development. “Myrtle Rust infects leaves of susceptible plants producing spore-filled lesions on young actively growing leaves and shoots, as well as fruits and sepals. Leaves may become buckled or twisted as a result of infection“. Measures are in place to prevent the spread of the disease (which can affect many other species in the myrtle family – Myrtaceae). For further details see the Myrtle Rust website.
Propagation can be carried out from seed but best results are obtained if the seed is sown while fresh. Cuttings strike readily from firm, current season’s growth. The cultivar ‘Blushing Beauty’ (and other named cultivars) must be propagated from cuttings as seed will not come true to the parent plant.
Gossia inophloia ‘Blushing Beauty’ showing the small flowers
Photo: Brian Walters
Gossia inophloia ‘Blushing Beauty’ showing the attractive burgundy-coloured new growth of this cultivar.
Photo: Brian Walters