Sannantha pluriflora

Tall Baeckea

Family: Myrtaceae

A shrub up to 4 metres tall, spreading to several metres wide.

It occurs naturally in Victoria, New South Wales and there are also records in Queensland. In NSW, it grows mainly in coastal areas and coastal hinterland,  extending into the Blue Mountains; mainly as far north as Port Stephens, but in disjunct occurrences around Taree, Coffs Harbour and Grafton and the inland. It extends into Queensland, as far north as near Caboolture. In Victoria, it occurs mostly in the north-eastern corner, as far west as near Bairnsdale.

It is found in dry eucalypt forest and woodland and well as sclerophyll shrublands, along water courses on sandy and sandstone substrate.

The bark is rough.

Sannantha spp. have simple and opposite leaves. In this species, they are lanceolate to elliptic to 30 mm long and 6 mm wide, with prominent oil glands and aromatic, mid to dark green in colour, with a distinct midvein.

Sannantha spp. have flowers in axillary clusters (cymes) where individual stems produce 3 flowers or umbels of 7 to 9 flowers; otherwise flowers are solitary, white in colour with 5 petals and sepals. In this species, 3 to 9 flowers are produced on the stems of axillary cymes, with each flower to 10 mm wide; produced mainly in Spring to Autumn.

Sannantha produce a capsule-fruit. In this species, they 2.5 to 3.5 mm in diameter.

In the garden

Author’s notes: when this species was known as Baeckea virgata, it was one of the first plants I planted in my garden and they are now over 40 years old. It is a very showy plant when in flower and is a hardy plant in my garden requiring no supplementary watering once established. It responds very well to pruning, shooting readily even from old wood when I cut the whole plant to the ground.

Editor’s notes: This has been a popular plant over several decades and grows well on a range of soils in full sun to part-shade.


From cuttings or seed. Seedlings have occurred occasionally in my garden from established plants.

Other information

The species has been cultivated for many years under various names. Cultivars include:

  • ‘Clarence River’
  • ‘Golden’
  • ‘La Petite’
  • White Cascade’

Sannantha is a genus of 15 species: 11 occurring in Australia (Victoria to north Queensland) and 4 in New Caledonia. NSW currently has 7 species.

Sannantha pluriflora and was first formally described in 1855 by Victorian Government Botanist Ferdinand von Mueller and given the name Camphoromyrtus pluriflora. It was placed in the genus Babingtonia in 1997 and in 2007 it was placed in the newly created genus Sannantha. For many years the name Baeckea virgata was misapplied to this species. Baeckea virgata, currently Sannantha virgata, is endemic to New Caledonia.

This species likely regenerates from suckering basal and branch stems after fire as well as any seed bank.

Sannantha this genus is named after Sanna Wilson – the wife of NSW Herbarium Botanist and Myrtaceae expert, Peter Wilson, who described and established this genus.

pluriflora Latin from pluri meaning ‘many’ and florus ‘flowers’ – referring to the large number of flowers produced by this species.

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

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

Wikipedia profile page for Sannantha pluriflora https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sannantha_pluriflora

Plants of South Eastern NSW – Sannantha pluriflora profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/sannantha_pluriflora.htm

By Jeff Howes. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke