Myoporum betcheanum

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Myoporum betcheanum is a tall shrub or small tree that may reach a height of 8 metres, with a spread several metres wide.

It grows on the North Coast of NSW, north from around the Bellingen area, extending to north-west of Boonah in south-east Queensland.

It is mainly found on the edge of wet sclerophyll forest and rainforest, on enriched soils.

Myoporum spp. have simple and alternate to opposite leaves. In this species, leaves are alternate and linear, up to 6 centimetres long and to 1 cm wide; toothed and tapering to a point; dark green. 

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 and 5 millimetres across, solitary or in clusters of up to 8; appearing in December to May.

The fruit are fleshy and drupaceaous. In this species, globular fruits are white or brown and translucent, to 10 mm in diameter, white with pink tinges. 

In the garden

Author’s notes:

In our cold climate garden (near Armidale), we keep specimens pruned to a manageable height of about three metres.

Myoporum bateae is a similar species that flowers just before M. betcheanum. Both Boobiallas could be could be cultivated together as a long-flowering screen or hedge.

Editor’s notes:

Not a lot of information can be found regarding cultivating this species. However, it is known to be grown. Likely prefers an enriched soil with reliable drainage. Given its habitat, it can likely be planted in shade to dappled sun or part-sun. An attractive species when in flower.


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

Other information

All Myoporums are commonly known as Boobiallas.

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. 

betcheanum – named in Honour of Daniel Ludwig Ernst Betche (1851-1913), a German-born horticulturalist who became a botanist, travelling the Pacific and ending up in Australia as a collector for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

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

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

Atlas of Living Australia – Myoporum betcheanum profile page https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2890154

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