Woolly Tea-tree

Description

Common names

Woolly Tea-tree, Silky Tea Tree, Woolly Leptospermum, Woolly Tea Tree, Woolly Teatree, Wooly Tea-tree.

Scientific names

Leptospermum lanigerum.

Family

Myrtaceae.

Genus

Leptospermum.

Name origin

Leptospermum, from Greek leptos, slender, and sperma, seed, referring to narrow seeds of some species. Lanigerum, from Latin lana, wool, and gerus, bearing, referring to woolly flower parts.

Rainfall

550mm.

Growth rate

Moderate.

Growth height

Up to 5m.

Presence in Australia

Noted only in Upper Gilmore. Possibly also in similar country nearby.

This specie has been identified in the following Australian states: Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, Tas, SA, WA.

Habitat

Open eucalypt communities, sandy swamps and along watercourses.

Habit

Erect, dense tall shrub to over 5m high. Smooth bark and often silvery new growth.

Site preference

Moist soil. Tolerates most frost, and a range of acidic to alkaline soils. Tolerates heavy, poorly-drained soil.

Characteristics

Very hardy. Moderate growth rate. Lifespan up to several decades.

Flowering

White, Oct-Jan. Prolific.

Seed collection

Any time. Seeds retained for many years, and shed after adversity such as injury, drought or fire. Collect capsules from older wood. Seeds highly viable, remaining so for many years in storage.

Propagation

From seed or tip cuttings, which strike readily. Sow light scattering of seed and cover lightly. Germinates in 2-5 weeks. Capillary watering should benefit fine seed. Suitable for direct seeding into pots. Smoke treatment enhances germination.

Regeneration

From seed, dispersed by wind and water. Regenerates well along creeks and rivers and in swampy areas.

Shade and shelter

Excellent low-level cover in windbreaks.

Land protection

Excellent in controlling creekside and gully erosion due to soil-binding fibrous roots. Branches root when contact made with moist soil.

Wildlife

Excellent habitat. Foliage excellent refuge for small birds, particularly in dense thickets. Flowers are a good pollen and nectar source for many native insects, including moths and butterflies. Insect-eating birds attracted.

Koori

Implements made from stems, including pegs for kangaroo skins, hunting spears and eel spears.

Ornamental

Attractive for screening, hedges, pond edges and bog gardens. Shallow roots do not interfere with footpaths or utilities. Tip prune regularly to encourage bushy growth.

Other

Used in colonial medicine.