Myoporum bateae


Family: Scrophulariaceae

Myoporum bateae is an open shrub that reaches a height of 4 metres.

It is native to NSW, growing mainly on the south coast, from south of Wollongong, to around Merimbula and west of Eden.

It is typically found in dry to moist sclerophyll forest in coastal hinterland and moving up into the ranges, on sandy to heavier soils.

Myoporum spp. have simple and alternate to opposite leaves. In this species, leaves are alternate, to 15 cm long and usually to about 9 mm wide (sometimes wider), linear, sticky and dotted with glands; with young foliage very fragrant.

Myoporum spp. have 5-merous, white to pink flowers, with 4 stamens and 1 carpel; produced solitarily in leaf axils or in clusters of up to 12. In this species, flowers are white or pale purplish pink, to 6 millimetres across, solitary or in clusters of up to 10; appearing in spring and summer with sporadic flowering at other times.

The fruits are usually fleshy and drupaceaous. In this species, the fruit is very small, to 3 mm long and not overly fleshy.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

Myoporum bateae grows well in our cold climate garden (near Armidale, NSW) reaching a height of 4 metres.

We have observed honey bees visiting the leaves, possibly because the glands exude a honey-attracting secretion.

Growth habit, foliage and flowers are all attractive features.

Regular tip pruning will prevent plants becoming straggly.

Usually hardy once established on a well-drained soil in part-shade to heavy shade but reported to also grow in mostly sun.


As with all myoporums, this species propagates readily and rapidly from cuttings.

Other information

At one time Myoporum bateae was considered to be a sub species of M. floribundum but M. bateae does not have the narrow, pendant leaves of the former species.

Fire response is generally unknown. It may be killed by fire and regenerate from the seedbank.

Myoporum is a genus of about 28 species, distributed from South-East Asia to the Pacific as well as Mauritius and Australia. Australia has about 17 species, 16 of which are endemic. NSW currently has 9 species.

Myoporum – reported to be from Ancient Greek myein – meaning “to shut one’s eyes or mouth” (the root of myopia and myopic) and porous (πόρους) – meaning pores – referring to the pores or stomates on the leaves appearing closed.

bateae named in honour of Mary Harriet Bate (1855-1951) – a botanical collector who assisted botanists such as Ferdinand von Mueller and who collected the type specimen for the species.

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

Australian National Botanic Gardens – Myoporum bateae profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp13/myoporum-bateae.html

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

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

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke