Plants of
South Australia
Leptospermum continentale
Myrtaceae
Prickly Tea-tree
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 2.

Etymology

Leptospermum from the Greek 'leptos' meaning fine, thin or slender and 'sperma' meaning seed; referring to the narrow seeds of the type species. Continentale refers to its mainland distribution as opposed to its close relative Leptospermum scoparium, which also occurs in Tasmania and New Zealand.

Distribution and status

Found on Kangaroo Island, Mount Lofty Ranges and the South-east in South Australia, growing in heathlands and woodlands, usually on well-drained sandy soils, but also on swamp and stream margins. Also found in New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other states.
Herbarium regions: Murray, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Erect prickly shrub to 2 m high with smooth bark. Leaves narrowly ovate, to 13 mm long and 3.5 mm wide, broadest near the base, glabrous, apex incurved and pungent. Inflorescence borne on short axillary shoots with white flowers to 12 mm wide. Flowering between August to January. Fruits are woody fruit to 8 mm wide, persistent. Seeds are narrow reddish-brown cylindrical seed 2.5 mm long and 0.5 mm wide, with a linear-striate surface pattern. Seed embryo type is folded.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect mature capsules, those that are turning brown, hard with non-open valves. Mature fruits can remain on the plant unopened for sometime. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for a week or two. This allows the valves on the fruit to open and release the seeds. Separate the seeds by placing all the materials into a bucket and shaking it to dislodge the seeds. Pass the material through a sieve to separate the unwanted material. The finer material will contain both seeds and frass usually distinguishable from each other. With finer sieves, the seeds can be separated from the frass but this is not essential for storage or propagation. Store the seeds with a desiccant such as dried silica beads or dry rice, in an air tight container in a cool and dry place. From one collection, the seed viability was high, at 90%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
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LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
Number
of plants
Date
collected
Collection number
Collection location
Date
stored
% ViabilityStorage
temperature
BGA 
MSB
2,432,000 (41.35 g)
2,432,000 (41.35 g)
457-Jan-2004MKJ12
Kangaroo Island
1-Sep-2004 +5°C, -18°C
Location: BGA — the seeds are stored at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, MSB — the seeds are stored at the Millennium Seed Bank, Kew, England.
Number of plants: This is the number of plants from which the seeds were collected.
Collection location: The Herbarium of South Australia's region name.
% Viability: Percentage of filled healthy seeds determined by a cut test or x-ray.