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Useful Temperate Plants

Backhousia myrtifolia

Hook. & Harv.

Myrtaceae

+ Synonyms

Backhousia australis G.Benn.

Backhousia riparia Hook. & Harv.

Common Name: Grey Myrtle

Backhousia myrtifolia
Flowering stem
Photograph by: Fagg M.; Australian National Botanic Gardens
Creative Commons License
Backhousia myrtifolia Backhousia myrtifolia Backhousia myrtifolia Backhousia myrtifolia Backhousia myrtifolia

General Information

Backhousia myrtifolia is an evergreen shrub or small tree, usually growing up to 7 metres tall, though one report says it sometimes reaches a height of 30 metres. Larger trees are somewhat flanged or buttressed at the base[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of wood. It has become more popular as a food flavouring in Australia as a result of the increased interest in native foods and is traded commercially. The plant is also grown as an ornamental.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
265
Title
Flora of the Sydney Region
Publication
 
Author
Carolin. R. & Tindale. M.
Publisher
Reed. Australia.
Year
1993
ISBN
0730104001
Description
Concise flora with little beyond an extensive key, species descriptions, very brief habitat description.

Range

Australia - New South Wales, Queensland

Habitat

Gullies and the margins of rainforests[
265
Title
Flora of the Sydney Region
Publication
 
Author
Carolin. R. & Tindale. M.
Publisher
Reed. Australia.
Year
1993
ISBN
0730104001
Description
Concise flora with little beyond an extensive key, species descriptions, very brief habitat description.
]. Usually in warmer rainforest, often close to streams[
365
Title
Flora of New South Wales
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/floraonline.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line resource giving a brief botanical description of all the native plants of New South Wales, their habitat and range, together with diagrams and photographs of the plants.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height12.00 m
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Backhousia myrtifolia is found in eastern Australia where the climate is warm temperate to subtropical with hot summers. It experiences occasional low temperatures down to at least -7°c[
157
Title
Australian Native Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Wrigley. J. W. and Fagg. M.
Publisher
Collins. (Australia)
Year
1988
ISBN
0-7322-0021-0
Description
A lovely book, written in order to encourage Australian gardeners to grow their native plants. A little bit of information for the plant project.
], but also requires the heat of summer to fully ripen its wood. It can be grown outdoors in cool winter areas of the temperate zone.
Prefers a position in full sun in a fertile moisture retentive well-drained soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Leaves are very aromatic[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
]. One form of the plant, which is rich in the essential oil elemicin, is used as a spice.
Seed can remain viable on the plant for 3 - 4 years[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Edible Uses

The leaves are 3-6 cm long and have a pleasant spicy cinnamon-like aroma and flavour. The leaves of one form of the plant, which are rich in the essential oil elemicin, are used as a spice in savoury recipes, deserts, confectionary and herbal teas. They can be added to curries, stews and rice dishes (wonderful in steamed rice). They can also be used in biscuits, sweets and slices - anywhere cinnamon is used[
1096
Title
Native Tastes of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tasteaustralia.biz/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website with detailed information on around 50 species of native Australian food plants, including recipes.
]

Medicinal

The leaves make a calming, medicinal tea, useful in the treatment of dyspepsia, heartburn, colic and other disorders of the digestive system[
1096
Title
Native Tastes of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tasteaustralia.biz/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website with detailed information on around 50 species of native Australian food plants, including recipes.
].

Other Uses

An essential oil is obtained from the leaves[
154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
]. The main essential oil isolated in cinnamon myrtle is elemicin, which is also a significant flavouring component in common nutmeg[
1096
Title
Native Tastes of Australia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://tasteaustralia.biz/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A website with detailed information on around 50 species of native Australian food plants, including recipes.
].
Leaves can be crushed and rubbed on skin as an insect repellant[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
].

The wood is of a light yellow colour and often prettily marked with dark walnut stains. It is close-grained, hard, tough, strong and durable. It is used for tool handles, mallets, wheels, construction etc, and is suitable for turnery[
154
Title
Flora of Victoria.
Publication
 
Author
Ewart. A. J.
Publisher
University Press; Melbourne
Year
1930
ISBN
 
Description
A flora of eastern Australia, it is rather short on information that is useful to the plant project.
,
601
Title
The Useful Native Plants of Australia.
Publication
 
Author
Maiden J.H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Turner & Co.; London.
Year
1889
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of the uses of many Australian plants and other species naturalised, or at least growing, in Australia. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in spring or autumn in a greenhouse and keep the compost moist until germination takes place. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, mid summer in a frame[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. They root easily[
440
Title
Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network,
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Information on plants in the Queensland Rainforests.
].
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-10-22. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Backhousia+myrtifolia>

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