Plants of
South Australia
Melaleuca uncinata
Broom Honey-myrtle
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Regional Species Conservation Assessments per IBRA subregion.
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Critically endangered
Data deficient
Coober Pedy
Mount Gambier
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Botanical art

Kath Alcock paintings: 3.


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. Uncinata, from the Latin 'uncinatus', meaning bearing hooks or barbed, referring to the hooked-shape of the leaf apex.

Distribution and status

Found in the southern part of South Australia from the Eyre Peninsula to the upper South-east, growing in mallee, woodland and dry sclerophyll forest, usually on sandy soils. Also found in all mainland States. Native. Common in South Australia. Rare in the Northern Territory. Common in the other States.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Nullarbor, Gairdner-Torrens, Flinders Ranges, 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

Broom-like shrub 3 m high; glabrous except for the hairy young shoots, leaves and young fruit. Leaves alternate; terete, to 6 cm long and 1 mm diameter, tapering at the apex to a curved point; punctate. Inflorescence in dense axillary globular or oblong heads with white or yellowish flowers. Flowers in spring. Fruits are grey-brown woody capsule to 2.5 mm diameter, compressed-hexagonal in dense clusters at the bases of woody branches. Seeds are tiny brown ovoid seed to 0.8 mm long and 0.4 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 two collections, the seed viability was high, ranging from 85% to 100%. Seeds are non-dormant, viable seed should germinate readily.

Seeds stored:
LocationNo. of seeds
(weight grams)
of plants
Collection number
Collection location
% ViabilityStorage
175,000 (2.65 g)
175,000 (2.65 g)
Eyre Peninsula
1-Sep-2004100%+5°C, -18°C
BGA12,300 (1.08 g)116-Sep-2003PJA22
14-Aug-2006 -18°C
BGA21,500 (2.16 g)25-Jan-2004ERT8
Kangaroo Island
14-Aug-2006 -18°C
BGA127,000 (6.15 g)25-Jan-2004ERT10
Kangaroo Island
14-Aug-2006 -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: