Plants of
South Australia
Melaleuca xerophila
Myrtaceae
Inland Honey-myrtle
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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
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Marree
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Oodnadatta
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Keith
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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. Xerophila, from the Greek 'xeros, meaning dry and 'phila', meaning loving, alluding to its arid desert habitat.

Distribution and status

Found in the central part of South Australia, growing on calcareous soils in depressions near salt lakes. Also found in Western Australia. Native. Common in South Australia. Common in Western Australia.
Herbarium regions: North Western, Lake Eyre, Gairdner-Torrens, Eyre Peninsula
NRM regions: Alinytjara Wilurara, Eyre Peninsula, South Australian Arid Lands
AVH map: SA distribution map (external link)

Plant description

Large shrub or small spreading tree to 6 m, with fibrous or papery bark. Leaves alternately or spirally arranged; narrow elliptic to 5.2 mm long and 1.5 mm wide. Inflorescences are arranged in heads near the ends of the branches, each head usually consisting of one to nine bright yellow, pale lemon-yellow or whitish flowers, turning pink with age. Flowering between October and November. Fruits are grey-brown woody, cup-shaped capsule to 3.5 mm diameter, Seeds are tiny brown cylindrical to pyramidal-shaped 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 average to high, ranging from 80% to 100%. 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
274,000 (8.31 g)
274,000 (8.31 g)
215-Feb-2004PJA46
North Western
1-Sep-200465%+5°C, -18°C
BGA 
MSB
200,000 (53 g)
200,000 (53 g)
6023-Oct-2004MOL4560
Gairdner-Torrens
31-Mar-2006100%-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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