Gaudium brevipes (syn. Leptospermum brevipes)

Slender tea-tree

Family: Myrtaceae

A shrub (small tree) growing to 4 metres high and to 3 metres across.

It has a wide distribution in NSW, although with disjunct occurrences, with records in the North Coast, Northern Tablelands and Western Slopes subdivisions, then with plants found on the Central Tablelands along with the South Coast, Southern Tablelands and South-Western Slopes. It extends through eastern Victoria towards Melbourne, and north into Queensland (west of the Gold Coast).

It is found in dry sclerophyll woodland and shrubland, typically on rock granite outcrops, often close to streams.

The bark on the larger stems is rough, but young stems have smooth bark that is shed in stringy strips.

Gaudium spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, the leaves are narrow-elliptic / oblanceolate to obovate, to 25 mm long, and to 5 mm wide, hairy when young but becoming glabrous, mid-green in colour.

Gaudium spp. typically produce solitary flowers, or in 2s or 3s, within the leaf axils. Flowers have 5 petals and sepals and have a symmetrical rotate shape. Stamens are produced in groups of 5 which surround 1 carpel (female part). The prominent feature in Gaudium/Leptospermum is the hypanthium, a cup or vase-shaped receptacle that supports the flower.

In this species, the flowers are borne singly or in pairs, in leaf axils, to 10 mm in diameter with the hypanthium hairy and about 2 mm long. The sepals are about 2 mm long and hairy, the petals about 4 mm long, white in colour; the stamens are about 2 mm long. Flowering occurs from November to January and can be profuse. The flower buds also have an attractive pink tinge.

The fruit is a capsule, to 4 mm in diameter, with the sepals attached. The capsule is dropped when mature.

In the garden

This species is known to be propagated and has been grown successfully by APS members. It is reported to be bird-attracting and also regenerates easily on farmland (where plants occur naturally), when stock are removed.

It is a hardy and fast-growing shrub, adaptable to most soils and works well for screening and hedging. It tolerates frost, and will take to rocky areas.

Grow in an open sunny to semi-shaded position. May benefit from additional water in dry times. Prune after flowering to control shape and provide density. It is reported to be fast growing.

Most Gaudium species make good garden plants.

Gaudium (formerly Leptospermum) are generally susceptible to the webbing caterpillar. Usually the most effective control method for this pest is removing infestations by hand or, if necessary, you can systematically spray with a suitable pesticide. They are also prone to scale insects which is best treated by spraying white oil solution.


They are easy to propagate from seed or cuttings.

Other information

Please note the following changes:

In 2023, the genus Leptospermum of about 90-100 species, was reclassified and reduced to about 34 species, occurring in south-east Asia, New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. Australia now has at least 31 species, occurring mostly in the eastern states. NSW currently has 31 species. The remaining approximately 60 species, that were previously Leptospermum, are now classified in four new genera: AggreflorumGaudiumLeptospermopsis and Apectospermum. Species in these new genera are titled as such on this website with the synonymous Leptospermum name also indicated, for clarity.

Gaudium is a genus of 22 species, endemic to Australia, occurring mainly in eastern Australia, with one species occurring in Western Australia. NSW currently has 15 species. Gaudium differs from Leptospermum by having fruiting-capsules usually deciduous and either non-woody, or with non-woody valves. In addition, the seeds of Gaudium are ovoid to cuneiform and with a reticulate (net-like) surface, whereas they are linear with longitudinal striations in Leptospermum.

Many Gaudium species have an ability to regenerate vegetatively after fire with suckering basal growth and branch-shoots. They will also regenerate by seed.

The general common name, Teatree, derives from the practice of early Australian settlers who soaked the leaves of several species in boiling water to make a herbal tea.

Gaudium – Latin for ‘joy’ – in tribute to NSW Herbarium Botanist Joy Thompson (1923-2018) who published an extensive study on Leptospermum in 1989 (which recognised several new species), and was considered the primary expert on the genus.

brevipes – Latin meaning ‘short-feet’ referring to the short flower stalks (pedicels) of some plants found in the wild (although some populations display longer pedicels).

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

Plants of South Eastern New South Wales – Leptospermum brevipes profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/leptospermum_brevipes.htm

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

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

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

By Warren and Gloria Sheather; additions - Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke