Leptospermum — A New Image
John Seelye, Bev Hofmann, Garry Burge, Ed Morgan and Ross Bicknell
The genus Leptospermum contains more than 70 species that are endemic to Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. The majority of species are endemic to Australia (Thompson, 1983; 1989). New Zealand has only one species, L. scoparium, which is also endemic to New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania. Selected forms of several species are sold in the nursery trade. However, only L. scoparium has been extensively bred as a garden plant (Dawson, 1990). More than 100 cultivars of L. scoparium have been named, but less than 30 cultivars have been bred from all the other species (Harris et al., 1995). Flower colour of L. scoparium ranges from white to pink, to crimson, with both single- and double-flowered types, and plant forms from upright to prostrate.
The genetic base of these L. scoparium cultivars is quite narrow. The red petal colour of most cultivars appears to have been derived from 2 or 3 wild accessions (Harrison, 1974). Most of the original breeding of L. scoparium
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