Archirhodomyrtus beckleri

Rose Myrtle

Family: Myrtaceae

A large shrub to potentially 6 metres tall but usually shorter.

It grows in east coast rainforest and rainforest margins, north from the Newcastle area in NSW and north to the border. It extends along the Queensland coast, in disjunct patches as far as just south of Cook Town.

Archirhodomyrtus spp. have simple and opposite leaves. In this species, they are to 9 cm long and 3 cm wide (lilly-pilly in appearance), mid to dark green and paler below.

Archirhodomyrtus spp. have 5-merous flowers with 5 petals and sepals and many stamens surrouding one carpel. In this species, flowers are produced solitarily or sometimes in 2s or 3s in leaf axils on pedicels almost as long or longer than the leaves; with 5 white petals and numerous pink stamens. Flowers have a pleasant scent.

Fruits are a berry, to 7 mm in diameter – yellow to orange.

In the garden

Archirhodomytus beckleri makes a very attractive plant for your garden and will tolerate considerable sun as well as a clay soil. They are also hardy in moderate frosts.

Author’s note: I have been growing a number of Archirhodomytus beckleri plants for many years, in my garden in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh. They grow to about four metres high and about two metres wide and produce fragrant, five petalled flowers in October and November. After flowering, small, globular, bright orange/red berries are produced. The plant is very attractive when in flower and when the berries are ripe.

My plants are mulched and are growing in a thin layer of topsoil over a clay sub soil. I have found they respond well to native plant fertiliser and in dry periods, I give them additional water.

After flowering or fruiting I give them a good prune even to old wood near the base, if necessary. Pruned this way, they readily reshoot and put on strong growth. The aim of this pruning is to keep them bushy to ground level and about 2 meters high.

The common name for this plant is Rose Myrtle and I suspect this name refers to the lovely fragrance of the flowers especially early in the morning before the day warms up.


The easiest way to obtain new plants is to raise them from seed — pick the fruit when it is very soft. Then wash the seeds out of the fruit and sprinkle them over some native plant mix in small pots. Keep moist in a dappled light position and you will be reward with many seedlings in a few weeks. The seeds cannot be stored and need to be sowed immediately.

Other information

Archirhodomytus beckleri is the only species of Archirhodomytus growing in Australia. The other four species in the genus are from New Caledonia.

This species is likely not overly responsive to fire but may be able to reshoot from stem buds and suckering.

Archirhodomyrtus – a compounded word. From the Ancient Greek Arkhi (ἀρχι) – meaning “early” or “first” or “lead” (eg: architecture); rhodo from Greek rodon (ῥόδον) meaning “rose” and myrtus – meaning “Myrtle” – referrring to this myrtle bearing projected rose-like flowers.

beckleri – After Dr. Hermann Beckler (1828-1914), a medical practitioner and botanist with the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition (but who resigned and survived). Beckler has over 10 Australian flora species named after him.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Archirhodomyrtus beckleri profile page  https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Archirhodomyrtus~beckleri

Australian Native Plants Society Australia – Archirhodomyrtus beckleri profile page  https://anpsa.org.au/plant_profiles/archirhodomyrtus-beckleri/

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Jeff Howes and Dan Clarke