Baeckea linifolia

Flax-leaf Heath Myrtle, Swamp Myrtle, Weeping Baeckea

Family: Myrtaceae

A shrub to 1.5 metres tall by 1 to 2 metres wide.

It is found in heaths, usually in damp areas and near sandstone waterfalls and creeks (coast and tablelands), from south-east Queensland to eastern Victoria where it is rare. In NSW, it has a minaly coastal distribution along the entire coast and extends into the Central Tablelands (higher Blue Mountains).

Baeckea spp. have simple and opposite leaves. In this species, the leaves are linear and widely spaced, more or less terete, and growing close to the stem; to 15 mm long, acute at the end and with a tapering base; mid to dark green in colour.

White 5-petaled flowers are produced solitarily in the leaf axils, up to 5 mm across and have a typical myrtle appearance similar to Leptospermum. The main flowering time is June to December.

Capsules are to 2 mm in diametre (very small). These can turn red when ripening.

In the garden

It is a very hardy, erect shrub with branches having drooping tips. It is an ideal screen plant. It occasionally self-seeds and the flowers attract bees.

It can be pruned very hard and will reshoot quickly and is pest free. Prolonged rain may cause detriment.

It is known to be cultivated successfully. Plant in part-shade on a fast-draining soil for best results. It will respond to some supplementary watering in dry times.

It is a good cut flower and will also flower for most of the year.


It can be grown from seed, which germinates well without pre-treatment, but seed is difficult to collect as it is released from the small seed capsules when ripe. Cuttings of firm, current season’s growth strike readily.

The author has been growing this plant for over 30 years.

Other information

It likely regenerates from seed after fire and suckering shoots of burnt stems.

Baeckea is a genus of about 14 species, occurring in Australia and Asia. It used to be a much large genus but has now been split up. There are currently 10 species recognised in NSW.

Baeckea – after Dr Abraham Baeck (1713–1795), a Swedish physician and friend of the botanist Linnaeus;

linifolia – Latin meaning “flax-leaved” (long and narrow); Linum being the scientific name of Flax and folium – ‘leaf’

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

Australian National Herbarium – Baeckea linifolia profile page        https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp3/baeckea-linifolia.html

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Baeckea linifolia profile page

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. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke.