Ned. Kruid. Arch. 4: 146 (1856) APNI
Threat status:Victoria: data deficient (k)
Erect shrub or small tree 2–5(–15) m high; bark on young stems fissured, peeling in long strips; young stems minutely pubescent. Leaves, alternate, narrowly elliptic to narrowly oblanceolate, spreading, 7–25 mm long, 1–2 mm wide, mid to dark green, minutely pubescent when young, soon glabrous or with a fringe of fine hairs along the margins, more or less flat; apex acute to acuminate; margins entire; petiole c. 0.5 mm long. Flowers white, crowded in upper leaf axils or on leafy side branches; pedicels 1–3 mm long, glabrous or with sparse, short spreading hairs; floral bracts absent; hypanthium ±glabrous, rugulose, 2.5–3 mm long; sepals green, reddish at base, triangular, 1–1.5 mm long; petals orbicular, c. 1.5–2.5 mm diam.; stamens white, usually 20–35, 1–4 mm long, those opposite sepals shorter than petals; style 1.5–2.5 mm long; ovary usually 3-celled. Fruit c. 3–4 mm long and wide, not woody, dehiscent by terminal valves. Flowers Sep.–Dec.
GipP, HSF. Apparently restricted to the Yarra Valley and upper tributaries of Bunyip River, eastern and south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, generally in riparian areas or damp forest.
Kunzea leptospermoides, K. peduncularis, K. sp. (Scrubby form) and K. sp. (Upright form) were previously all included in K. ericoides (A.Rich.) Joy Thomps. Kunzea ericoides is now thought to be endemic to New Zealand. The distinction between these four Victorian taxa is often slight at best, and clear patterns between them are often blurred by the apparent widespread hybridisation in this complex. Inspection of bark and a sound knowledge of the range of variation seen in species is often required for identification. A full treatment of this species complex is still to be completed; as such the above description should be treated as interim. It is based on a very limited number of specimens selected largely by their distribution and presence of a few key features, and does not account for variation seen in putative hybrid forms.
Kunzea leptospermoides is sympatric with, and reported to hybridise with Kunzea sp. (Upright form) throughout much of its known range. However, where they occur in close proximity, K. leptospermoides is generally distinguished by the longer and narrower leaves that are often widest in the middle. The type of K. leptospermoides (from the Melbourne suburb of Brighton) has distinctly narrower leaves and almost subsessile flowers.
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