Characteristics of Lemon-scented Teatree (Leptospermum petersonii) in the Wild

Leptospermum petersonii
Lemon-scented teatree or Teatree (Leptospermum petersonii) is a species of shrub or small tree endemic to eastern Australia. The tree is commonly grown as an ornamental plant and in the yard of people’s homes.

Lemon-scented Teatree grows naturally in a rainforest near creeks or on rocky slopes south of Mount Timbeerwah in southeast Queensland to near Port Macquarie in New South Wales.

The species Leptospermum petersonii was first officially described in 1905 by Frederick Manson Bailey in the Queensland Agricultural Journal from specimens collected by WJ Peterson at Wilsons Peak in January 1905.

 

Characteristics of Lemon-scented Teatree Leaf

Leptospermum petersonii Leaf
Source: flickr.com/Sheila’s collection

The leaves are elliptical to narrow lance-shaped, 20-40 mm long and 2-5 mm wide, have no petioles, and are often strongly scented.

 

Characteristics of Lemon-scented Teatree Flower

Leptospermum petersonii Flower
Source: flickr.com/Sheila’s collection

The flowers are white, about 10-15 mm in diameter, and usually arranged singly on short side shoots.

Flower buds have thin bracts and bracteoles, reddish-brown at the base, but usually fall off as the buds develop. The flower cups are mostly glabrous, dark in color, 3-4 mm long and the sepals are hemispherical, 1.5-2.5 mm long. The petals are 5-6 mm long and the stamens are 2.5-3.5 mm long.

The tree flowers mainly from December to January.

 

Characteristics of Lemon-scented Teatree Fruit

Leptospermum petersonii Fruit
Source: flickr.com/Russell Cumming

The fruit is a capsule with a width of about 6 mm.

 

Characteristics of Lemon-scented Teatree

Leptospermum petersonii Tree
Source: flickr.com/dustaway

Lemon-scented teatree grows as a shrub or small tree that usually grows to a height of 5 meters or more. The bark is thin, rough, and fibrous or scaly. The branches are glabrous with flanges under the leaf base.

This tree is usually cultivated for sale as an ornamental tree. However, its ease of distribution has been a problem in places beyond its natural range, including in native vegetation near Sydney and Melbourne, and Hawaii.

 

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