Darwinia citriodora

Lemon-scented Myrtle

Family: Myrtaceae

Darwinia citriodora, the Lemon-scented Myrtle, is a native of Western Australia and grows to about 1.5 metres tall with a similar spread, forming a compact, rounded shrub.

The attractive leaves are rich green, 6 mm to 12 mm long, colouring during winter with traces of purple-red. The underside of the leaves have numerous oil glands and when crushed between the fingers, a pleasant lemon scent is given off. Darwinia citriodora flowers for a long time commencing in June/July and lasts most years into October.

Tubular flowers are initially white then age to red. The flowers are usually carried in slightly pendulous clusters of four or sometimes five to six. They attract honeyeaters. Spring and summer are the flowering periods.

Darwinia is a genus with over 70 species and occurs in south-eastern and south-western Australia. The lion’s share of species is native to south-western Western Australia with a few species found in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.


In the garden

From Warren Sheather: Darwinia citriodora has survived and thrived, in our cold climate garden, for many years. In that time, the species has coped with many frosts and recurring droughts. Unfortunately, the many Western Australian Darwinias which have beautiful flowers, are not happy in our cold climate garden. Some species have been grafted onto durable root stock but they are rather expensive and they still may not succeed in our garden.

From Jeff Howes: Darwinia citriodora has long been available in plant nurseries and I first planted a few of these plants many years ago in the northern Sydney suburb of Westleigh. They have all grown to about 1.2 metres high by the same width and flowered well.vThey are hardy plants and I have found that they grow and flower better in Sydney’s wetter years than in drier years. This is to be expected, as they originate from the wetter SW corner of Western Australia. They are plants that prefer some shade or dappled light to do their best; however they will tolerate full sun.

There is a ground covering form of the Lemon-scented Myrtle that is available from nurseries.


Cuttings produce roots rapidly and enthusiastically.

Other information

The genus name honours Erasmus Darwin the grandfather of Charles Darwin.

Darwinia – after Dr Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), the grandfather of the famous evolutionist, Charles Darwin; citriodora – of Greek origin and meaning lemon-scented

By Jeff Howes, Warren and Gloria Sheather