Plants of
South Australia
Melaleuca lanceolata
Myrtaceae
Dryland Tea-tree (Moonah)
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Near threatened
Rare
Vulnerable
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Adelaide
Arkaroola
Ceduna
Coober Pedy
Hawker
Innamincka
Marla
Marree
Mount Gambier
Oodnadatta
Renmark
Wudinna
Keith
Yunta
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 4.

Etymology

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. Lanceolata, from the Latin 'lanceolatus', meaning shaped like a lance-head, referring to the shape of the leaf.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia growing on limestone ridges, coastal cliffs and dunes, salt flats, near salt lakes, mallee or open woodland on limestone, clay or loam, brown or grey or white sand. Also found in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, Eastern, Eyre Peninsula, Northern Lofty, Murray, Yorke Peninsula, Southern Lofty, Kangaroo Island, South Eastern
NRM regions: Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, Northern and Yorke, South Australian Arid Lands, South Australian Murray-Darling Basin, South East
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Shrub or tree to 10 m high; glabrous except for the softly pubescent young vegetative parts and fruit capsules. Leaves alternate, linear to narrow-elliptic to 15 mm long and 3 mm broad; acute and reflexed at the apex, concave above; thicker at the margins. Inflorescence in dense leafy spikes to 40 mm long and 18 mm wide with 10-20 white or cream flowers. Flowers in summer. Fruits are grey-brown, woody, spherical capsule to 5 mm diameter. Seeds are dark brown pyramidal seed to 1.5 mm long and 0.5 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. Mature capsules are usually found lower down the stems. 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 two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 85% to 95%. 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
288,000 (43.24 g)
288,000 (43.24 g)
116-Sep-2003PJA24
Murray
1-Sep-2004 -18°C
BGA 
MSB
891,200 (21.33 g)
891,200 (21.33 g)
425-Nov-2003MKJ4
Yorke Peninsula
1-Sep-2004100%+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:
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