Plants of
South Australia
Melaleuca gibbosa
Slender Honey-myrtle
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 5

Common names

Slender Honey-myrtle


Melaleuca, from the Greek 'melas', meaning black and 'leucon', meaning white, alluding to the contrasting colours of the bark of the first species described, which is said to have had white branches against a black trunk. Gibbosa, from the Latin 'gibbosus,' meaning having a hump, referring to the hump when the fruit become embedded in the woody stem.

Distribution and status

Found mainly on the southern Yorke Peninsula, Kangaroo Island and the South-east in South Australia with a few scattered records on the southern Eyre Peninsula and the Fleurieu Peninsula, growing in heath scrub in swampy areas. Also found in Victoria and Tasmania. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Medium-sized shrub to 2 m high and 2 m wide. Leaves ovate to obovate, to 7 mm long and 4 mm wide; sessile and arranged in crowded, alternating, opposite pairs along the stem. Inflorescence, a dense cylindrical spike to 5 mm wide with about ten pairs of mauve flowers. Flowering between November and December. Fruits are grey-brown woody capsule to 5 mm wide but wider at the base where they become embedded in the woody stem. Seeds are tiny brown cylindrical seed to 1.2 mm long and 04 mm wide. Seed embryo type is folded.

Seed collection and propagation

Collect seeds between January and December. Collect capsules that are large and hard, with closed valves. Place the capsules in a tray and leave to dry for at least two weeks or until all the valves are open. Then place all the capsules into a bucket with a lid if possible and shake hard to dislodge the seeds from the capsules. Use a sieve to separate the seeds from the capsules. The fine material will contain the seeds and other flowering material. It is very difficult to separate the seeds from this other material as the size, shape and weight are very similar, however the seeds will be a darker brown. 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 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
103,100 (16.5 g)
103,100 (16.5 g)
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.
Germination table: