A large shrub or small tree, growing to a height of 6 metres, usually with a narrower spread, to 2 metres or more.
It is a very common shrub in sandstone environs, and has a large distribution, growing from the south-east region of Victoria (between Mallacoota and Orbost), north along the coast and tablelands subdivisions of NSW (extending just into the western slopes), up as far as Rockhampton in Qld.
It is found in dry sclerophyll woodland and forest, from ridges down to gully creeklines, as well as heath and scrub, especially among sandstone rocks.
It has prominent flaky-papery bark that is shed in thin, flaking strips – a useful identification feature.
Gaudium spp. have simple and alternate leaves. In this species, leaves are variable in terms of their width: narrow-elliptic to broadly-obovate to falcate, to 22 mm long and to 6 mm wide, with the tip usually blunt; somewhat aromatic, mid-green to light-green in colour. Some populations exhibit very narrow-leaved forms.
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 or in pairs, white in colour to 15 mm wide, occurring mostly from September to October or later if plants are inland.
The fruits (capsules) are to 6 mm wide and fall off the plant when seeds are ready to be released.
This species is known to be cultivated and can usually be sourced commercially (as plants and as seed).
In a garden situation it is hardy, but not overly showy. Tolerant of a wide range of soils. Frost and drought tolerant. The interesting flaky bark is its main feature along with an ability to be a dense bush.
Birds can use it for nest building. Best grown in an open sunny position on a sandy to loam soil. It can be pruned into a dense bush. It may not flower very heavily in some cases.
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.
trinervium – Latin meaning “three nerves”, referring to the obvious three nerves in the leaves.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Gaudium trinervium profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Gaudium~trinervium
Wikipedia – Leptospermum trinervium profile page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leptospermum_trinervium
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 trinervium)