A spreading large shrub to small tree growing to 5 metres tall by up to 3 metres wide, often with a pendulous habit.
It has a large distribution, with the most south-east records around Bowral, extending west to Wombeyan Caves, then north through the central and northern tablelands and western slopes as well as the central and north coasts with the most northern records in Dorrigo National Park near Dorrigo.
It grows on rocky escarpments or rocky gullies near streams in dry sclerophyll forest and heathland.
The bark on older stems is thin and rough, often furrowed or flaky, the younger stems have silky hairs at first.
Gaudium spp. have simple and altenrate leaves. In this species, leaves are elliptic to linear, to 25 mm long and to 5 mm wide, with a blunt point, mid to dark green.
Gaudium 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 Gaudium/Leptospermum is the hypanthium, a cup or vase-shaped receptacle that supports the flower.
In this species, the flowers are produced solitarily, sometimes in pairs, white in colour, to 6 mm in diameter, occurring from October to January.
There are reddish-brown bracts at the base of the young flower buds which are shed as flowers ripen.
The capsules are about 3 mm in diameter, and they are usually all shed from the plant once seeds are released and before the next flowering season.
This species is not common in cultivation and little is currently known about its cultivation potential. It may become more common in the future.
It is found on rocky outcrops and gullies near streams and so may need a free draining soil to thrive. It is an attractive large plant and would compliment any garden. It is known to flower heavily.
Most Gaudium species make good garden plants.
Gaudium spp. (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.
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.
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.
polyanthum – Latin via Greek – poly (πολυ) meaning “a lot” or “much” and anthos (άνθος) meaning “flowers” – referring to the large number of flowers produced on the stems.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Gaudium polyanthum profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Gaudium~polyanthum
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Gaudium profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=gn&name=Gaudium
Wikipedia – Leptospermum polyanthum profile page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptospermum_polyanthum