Very common riparian species on dry banks but rarely planted, probably because of the difficulty of obtaining seed. Can to be hard to establish, susceptible to drying out when young, though becomes very drought hardy when mature.

Small tree to 7m tall, leaves are simple, opposite and entire with a fine point and between 5-7cm long.

Prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy), well-drained, moist soils and requires well-drained soil in full, or nearly-full sun. Does not like shade.

The foliage when crushed smells a little like cinnamon, or bubblegum.

An overlooked species, crucial for natural riparian systems in rocky areas.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Foliage and flowers

Flowers are cream/white cymes bunched at branchlet ends from November-January.

Fruit is a small brown capsule ripe March-April. Grow from fresh seed or cuttings.

Provides small bird habitat, especially pardalotes.

Leaves can be crushed up and rubbed on skin as an insect repellant. Timber was used for tool handles, fishing rods and bows.

Common names include Grey Myrtle, Native Myrtle, Scrub Myrtle, Cinnamon Myrtle, Carrol, Ironwood, Lance Wood, Black Myrtle, Never Break, Native Cinnamon, Bubblegum Tree.

Photo: Robert Whyte This photo features a Lycid Beetle, or a similar mimic.

Flowers closeup

Backhousia after Backhouse, James (1794 1869), Born Durham, apprenticed to a chemist in Darlington; trained for two years in a Norwich nursery; nursery owner, York 1816-31; arrived Hobart Town 1832; visited and reported on penal settlements and Aboriginal establishments 1832-34; similar work in New South Wales, Norfolk Island and Moreton Bay 1835-37; collected harbarium 1835-37 (sent to Kew Gardens); visited Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth 1837-38, promoting temperance and Aboriginal protection committees; missionary work in Africa 1838-41; nursery business, York from 1841. Wrote A Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies (published London 1843), gave Kew two manuscript volumes of botanical recollections in Australia. Myrtifolia from Latin myrtus a myrtle or myrtle-tree and folium a leaf referring to the resemblance of the leaves to that of the European myrtle.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Flowers closeup (large)

Photo: Robert Whyte