Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ is a shrub that will reach a height of 1.5 metres with a spread of about 1 metre.
Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ was developed in a breeding programme, by Bywong Nursery, from crosses between a form of Leptospermum scoparium, Leptospermum macrocarpum and Leptospermum deuense, a rare New South Wales Tea-tree.
Leptospermum spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this cultivar, leaves are elliptic to ovate, to about 15 mm long and 7 mm wide, with an attenuating point, dark green in colour (paler beneath) and with some fringing hairs on the margins.
Leptospermum typically produce solitary flowers, or in small groups of 2s and 3s or more, 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 Leptospermum is the hypanthium, a cup or vase-shaped receptacle that supports the flower.
In this culitvar, flowers are at least 3 centimetres across, produced solitarily in leaf axils, mostly in spring. Initially they are white then age to pink. This gives plants a two-toned appearance. The stamens are a darker red which creates more contrast. The size of the flowers makes them one of the largest Leptospermum blooms and reflects a characteristic inherited from Leptospermum macrocarpum, one of the parents.
Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ is an eye-catching plant that could be used as a foreground shrub in native garden beds.
It does best in a full sun to minor-shade position on a well-drained soil. Benefits from some additional watering in hot and dry times. Prune after flowering to encourage a denser shrub and more flowers the following season. Great for bee attracting and for other insects.
We first came across Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ growing in a local native plant garden. The plant was in full flower and we were immediately taken by the large blooms.
Bywong Nursery, in southern New South Wales, is developing an amazing range of Australian plant cultivars including Correas, Grevilleas as well as Leptospermums.
Propagate from cuttings to retain the cultivar characteristics
Most Leptospermum species are endemic to Australia where most are found in southern areas of the country and many make desirable garden plants. However, 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: Aggreflorum, Gaudium, Leptospermopsis and Apectospermum. Species in these new genera are titled as such on this website with the synonymous Leptospermum name also indicated, for clarity.
The many cultivars in existence are still titled under Leptospermum.
Many Leptospermum 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.
Leptospermum – derived from the Greek words leptos (λεπτός) meaning “thin”, “fine” or “slender” and sperma (σπέρμα) meaning “seed”, referring to the thin brown seeds of the genus.
‘Mesmer Eyes’ – According to Bywong Nursery, the cultivar name derives from the dark flower centres and the prominent stamens that resemble eye lashes.
Bywong Nursery – Leptospermum ‘Mesmer Eyes’ product description page https//bywongnusery.com.au/products/leptospermum-mesmer-eyes/
Australian National Botanic Gardens – Leptospermum profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/leptospermum/