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Genus Melichrus Family Ericaceae
Subfamily Styphelioideae

Description: Procumbent to erect shrubs; branchlets pubescent and with prominent leaf scars.

Leaves crowded at end of branches, narrow-ovate, acuminate to subulate, concolorous or discolorous, lower surface deeply striate with parallel veins; petiole ill-defined or absent.

Flowers solitary, often ± hidden in leaf bases at base of season's growth, ± sessile. Bracts several, grading upwards in size to the larger ovate to ± circular bracteoles; all with ciliolate margins. Sepals 5, ovate, ciliolate. Corolla fleshy; tube rotate or urceolate, with 5 tufts or a ring of erect glandular hairs near base; lobes valvate in bud, ovate, with scattered long hairs. Stamens with filaments short, broad, flat, inserted towards base of corolla tube; anthers rectangular. Nectary annular, thick and fleshy. Ovary 4–6-locular with 1 ovule per loculus; style short, thick; stigma small.

Fruit a drupe with a slightly pulpy mesocarp and hard endocarp.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 4 species, endemic Australia. Australia: Qld, N.S.W., Vic.

Text by J. M. Powell, except for groups with contributors listed
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Melichrus hirsutus,    Melichrus sp. Gibberagee (Benwell 97239)

 Key to the species 
1Leaves with margins long-ciliate and with scattered long hairs on lower surface; tip 1.3–2.6 mm long, fine, often broken, not pungentMelichrus procumbens
Leaves with margins entire or minutely toothed, glabrous or minutely scabrous on lower surface; tip 0.4–1.8 mm long, pungent2
2Leaves densely imbricate, erect and appressed over much of branch; margins more or less entire and broad-hyaline towards base; fruit more or less globose, apex roundedMelichrus adpressus
Leaves mainly erect to subreflexed; margins evenly toothed, narrow-hyaline; fruit depressed-globose, flat-topped
                       Back to 1
3
3Sepals always tinged pink or red, glabrous except for ciliolate margins; flowers pink to deep red, corolla tube 2.5–3.8 mm long; fruit cherry-red overall when ripeMelichrus erubescens
Sepals greenish white, more or less glabrous to velvety and with ciliate margins; flowers white, cream or yellow-green, corolla tube 4–5 mm long; fruit 2-toned, whitish or purplish green, lower half darker and matt, the upper lighter and subglossy
                       Back to 2
Melichrus urceolatus

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