Myoporum viscosum

Sticky Boobialla

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Myoporum viscosum, the Sticky Boobialla, is a medium shrub that will reach a height of 2 metres.

It is endemic to South Australia (no longer recognised as occurring in Victoria). It occurs between Adelaide, northwards towards Port Augusta, on Kangaroo Island, the Yorke Peninsula and around Port Lincoln.

It grows in coastal shrublands and heathlands and dry sclerophyll woodlands.

Myoporum spp. have simple and alternate to opposite leaves. In this species, leaves are alternate, up to 55 mm long by 20 mm wide, lanceolate to ovate, glossy and deep green, usually thick and stiff with finely toothed margins; sticky and with the base wrapping somewhat around the stem (perfoliolate); and with a very strong, reportedly unpleasant, odour with many oil glands.

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 about 1 cm across, white with purple spots; carried in clusters of from 3 to 7 in the leaf axils. They appear in large numbers between June and November with sporadic flowering at other times.

The fruit are usually fleshy and drupaceaous. In this species, they are purple, fleshy and about 5 mm in diameter.

In the garden

Author’s notes:

The plants in our cold climate garden (near Armidale) have proved to be drought tolerant, frost resistant and free flowering. Myoporum viscosum would be an ideal hedge plant.

Light pruning is appreciated.

Plant in full sun on a well-draining soil. During the peak flowering period blooms are both conspicuous and profuse. Foliage and flowers are attractive features. This plant can tolerate salt-spray.


Propagate from cuttings that strike readily but may take a little longer than other myoporums.

Other information

This species has historically being confused with M. petiolaris which occurs in Victoria. The leaves of the latter are much less odorous and with more obvious petioles.

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.

viscosum – Latin meaning “viscous” – referring to the sticky-glossy resin secreted from the leaves.

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

E-Flora SA – Electronic Flora of South Australia – Myoporum viscosum profile sheet  http://www.flora.sa.gov.au/cgi-bin/speciesfacts_display.cgi?genus=Myoporum&species=viscosum

Wikipedia – Myoporum viscosum profile page               https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myoporum_viscosum

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

iNaturalistAU – Myoporum viscosum profile page                                      https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/752220-Myoporum-viscosum

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