A Review of Leptospermum Scoparium (Myrtaceae) in New Zealand

A Review of Leptospermum Scoparium (Myrtaceae) in New Zealand

Abstract:  Information about Leptospermum scoparium (Myrtaceae), the most widespread and important New Zealand indigenous shrub species, is reviewed. L. scoparium is a variable species, requiring more study of the genetically based differences between New Zealand populations and the affinity of these populations to Australian populations and other closely allied Australian species. Improved understanding of the species’ variation will assist both its conservation roles and economic uses, and the need to sustain genetically distinct varieties is emphasised. Ecologically, the species has a dominant role in infertile and poorly drained environments,
and a wider occurrence as a seral shrub species in successions to forest where it may be regarded as a woody weed of pasture or a useful species for erosion control, carbon sesquestration, and vegetation restoration. The main economic products derived from the species are ornamental shrubs, essential oils, and honey. The species’ development as an ornamental plant and further definition of the pharmacologically active components are recommended as priority areas for research.

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