Micromyrtus blakelyi

Family: Myrtaceae

A low spreading shrub to about 0.6 metres tall by 0.5 metres wide. 

 It has a very small natural distribution – restricted to areas north-west of Sydney, close to the Hawkesbury River. It is found in the localities of South Maroota and Maroota as well as Canoelands and north of Mooney Mooney; south to Berowra.

It grows on sandstone platforms and sheet in heathlands on ridgetops and upper valleys. It acts as a ‘bonsai’ shrub in these habitats.    

It is a listed threatened species in the wild. 

Micromyrtus spp. trend to have small, simple and opposite leaves, often decussate (where the projection of each pair of leaves is at a 90-degree turn to the last and next pair); less than 1 cm long and very narrow and also somewhat bent upwards from the middle. In this species, leaves are to 5 mm long and 1 mm wide with conspicuous oil dots (under a microscope); overlapping in a uniformly repeated pattern along the stems and with the keel/base bearing hairs; green to red-purple in colour, possibly due to different times of the year. 

Micromytus spp. have very small flowers – cup shaped and rotate, with 5 to 6 petals and with very small sepals. They are usually produced solitary or in 3-flowered clusters, in leaf axils. Yet, the number of flowers is very large. In this species, flowers are small, about 5 mm across, and produced solitarily in upper leaf axils, white to pink in colour.

The fruit is a nut about 3 mm long. 

In the garden

This plant is a listed threatened species in the wild. As such, it is likely not cultivated to a large degree. It would make a nice garden addition if plants were available. Check with bushcare and other native nurseries for availability. 

An interesting thing about this species, from the Editor’s experience, is that plants can be transplanted successfully. I had to do this on a site at South Maroota where plants were in “harm’s way”. Plants were simply extracted using a shovel and the small nature of them meant that intact root-balls with soil (i.e., ‘plugs’) were extracted successfully. They were moved to a conservation area about 50 metres away, and planted into similar soil conditions, i.e., shallow sandy soil in recesses of Hawkesbury sandstone outcrop. About 70% of these plants survived long-term. 

Plants flower readily and grow well in a well-drained sandy soil in full sun. They make a nice-rounded shrub in most cases but could always be pruned very lightly to make a denser bush. 


Propagation from seed or soft-wood cuttings. Plants can also be transplanted if needed in a garden situation. 

Other information

This species likely regenerates from seed after fire but may reshoot from basal parts or from suckering, especially if plant are mature.

Micromyrtus is a genus of about 22 species, endemic to Australia, occurring in the mainland states only except for Northern Territory. The genus contains some listed threatened species. Seven species occur in NSW.

Micromyrtus – From Greek micros (μῑκρός) meaning ‘small’ and the genus Myrtus (μύρτος) generally referring to the small growth habit and perhaps the foliage of most species.

blakelyi – named after William F Blakely (1875-1941), a botanist with the National Herbarium of NSW – Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.  

This species is listed as being threatened with extinction in the wild, at both the State and Commonwealth level, with the category of Vulnerable. 

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

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – Micromyrtus blakelyi profile page https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/threatenedspeciesapp/profile.aspx?id=10527 

Atlas of Living Australia – Micromyrtus blakelyi profile page https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2908678 

By Dan Clarke