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Melaleuca acuminata

Melaleuca acuminata, commonly known as mallee honeymyrtle is a plant in the myrtle family Myrtaceae, native to Australia and widespread in temperate areas of the continent. It is an erect shrub to about 3 metres (9.8 ft) usually found in mallee woodland.

Description[edit]

Melaleuca acuminata is an erect, rather open shrub with many ascending branches. The leaves are in alternating pairs on either side of the stem (that is, decussate), narrow elliptic in shape, 5–10 millimetres (0.2–0.4 in) long and 2–4 millimetres (0.08–0.2 in) wide. The leaves have a short petiole.

The flowers are cream or white, sometimes tinged with pink and are in cluster of three to six, the clusters occurring along the stem over a considerable length. As in other species of Melaleuca, the stamens are grouped into five clusters or "claws" and in this species there are 9—17 stamens per claw. The flowering season is spring.

The fruits are smooth, more or less spherical 3–5 millimetres (0.1–0.2 in) diameter, singly or in small clusters on a short stalk.[1][2][3]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

Melaleuca dealbata was first described in 1858 by Ferdinand Mueller in Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae from a specimen found "in the stony hills of Mount Barker Creek by L. Fischer".[4] The specific epithet (acuminata) is from the Latin acuminatus, meaning "tapering to a point".[5]

Subspecies[edit]

There are two subspecies varying in their leaf sizes and distributions:

Melaleuca acuminata F.Muell. subsp. acuminata occurs in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the south–west of New South Wales.

Melaleuca acuminata subsp. websteri (S.Moore) Barlow ex. Craven is restricted to Western Australia. It has narrower leaves and the flowers have a shorter hypanthium.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Mallee honeymyrtle occurs in Western Australia in the Carnarvon, Coolgardie, Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance, Jarrah Forest and Mallee biogeographical zones;[6] in South Australia it is found in the far south-east corner of the state;[7] in western Victoria, in the Murray Mallee, Lowan Mallee, Wimmera, Goldfields and Greater Grampians biozones,[8] and in New South Wales it is rare and found only in the Balranald district.[2] It grows in mallee communities on sandhills in New South Wales or elsewhere, in sandy or clayey soils in swampy depressions or rises, often in saline conditions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holliday, Ivan (2004). Melaleucas : a field and garden guide (2nd ed. ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Reed New Holland Publishers. pp. 80–81. ISBN 1876334983. 
  2. ^ a b "Melaleuca acuminata". Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Corrick, Margaret; Fuhrer, Bruce Alexander (2009). Wildflowers of southern Western Australia (3rd ed. ed.). [Kenthurst, N.S.W.]: Rosenberg Pub. p. 132. ISBN 9781877058844. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Melaleuca acuminata". APNI. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "acuminatus". Wiktionary. Wiktionary. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Paczkowska, Grazyna; Chapman, Alex R. (2000). The Western Australian flora : a descriptive catalogue. Perth: Wildflower Society of Western Australia. p. 391. ISBN 0646402439. 
  7. ^ Carrick, J.; Chornley, K. (1979). "A review of Melaleuca L. (Myrtaceae) in South Australia". Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 1 (5): 281–319. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Melaleuca acuminata". Royal Botanic Gardens, melbourne. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 

External source[edit]

  • Ferdinand, Mueller (1858). "Melaleuca acuminata". Fragmenta phytographiae Australiae 1 (1): 15. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
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