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Genus Kunzea Family Myrtaceae

Description: Shrubs or small trees.

Leaves alternate in most species, opposite in a few species.

Inflorescences usually pseudoterminal, head-like clusters of sessile or subsessile flowers or, less commonly, the flowers stalked and solitary or in clusters of 2 or 3; bracts sometimes enlarged, forming an involucre. Flowers 5-merous, white, yellow or pink to purple; free part of hypanthium usually much exceeding the ovary summit. Calyx persistent in fruit. Petals free. Stamens numerous, in one or more series, exceeding the petals. Ovary mostly 2- or 3-locular; placentation apical with ovules few and pendent or placentation axile and ovules numerous.

Fruit a capsule, usually loculicidal but indehiscent in a few species.

Photo T.M. Tame

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 60 species, Australia & New Zealand. Australia: c. 50 species (all endemic), all States.

The Australian species assigned to Kunzea ericoides, a species restricted to New Zealand, are being revised. Hybrids may occur between any two species that grow together or in close proximity. Probable hybrids that have been found include: K. capitata X K. ambigua, K. capitata X K. rupestris, K. parvifolia X K. juniperoides and K. parvifolia X K. occidentalis. All these have pale pink flowers and are usually morphologically intermediate between the presumed parent species.

Text by Peter G. Wilson; updated August 2017.
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Kunzea juniperoides

 Key to the species 
1Flowers pink to purple2
Flowers white or yellow5
2Leaves mostly alternate or occasionally opposite on some branchlets3
Leaves mostly opposite or more or less opposite or occasionally alternate on some branchlets
                       Back to 1
Kunzea opposita
3Leaves with 3 main veinsKunzea capitata
Leaves with only the midvein visible
                       Back to 2
4Leaves linear or linear-lanceolate; hypanthium glabrous or shortly pubescentKunzea parvifolia
Leaves narrow-obovate; hypanthium villous
                       Back to 3
Kunzea obovata
5Flowers in head-like groups at ends of branchlets6
Flowers not in heads, crowded on leafy side branches or in axils of upper leaves
                       Back to 1
6Ovary 3-locular7
Ovary 2-locular
                       Back to 5
7Leaves with at least 3 main veins; young stems usually with long, spreading hairsKunzea capitata
Leaves with midvein only; young stems usually with appressed hairs or shortly pubescent
                       Back to 6
8Leaves narrow-elliptic to broad-elliptic or obovate, ± 0.75 mm wide9
Leaves linear to terete, more or less 0.5 mm wide
                       Back to 7
9Leaves with lamina tapering to a short petiole, narrow-elliptic to obovate, obtuse to acute10
Leaves with lamina abruptly tapering to the petiole, elliptic to broad-elliptic, acute to acuminate
                       Back to 8
Kunzea aristulata
10Prostrate shrub; leaves 3–6 mm longKunzea badjaensis
Erect shrub; leaves 4–8 mm long
                       Back to 9
Kunzea bracteolata
11Leaves 1–3.5 mm longKunzea parvifolia
Leaves 3–8 mm long
                       Back to 8
12Flowers yellow; bracts not much enlarged; placentation axileKunzea muelleri
Flowers white to cream; bracts large; placentation apical
                       Back to 11
Kunzea juniperoides subsp. pernervosa
13Erect shrub; hypanthium villousKunzea rupestris
Prostrate to ascending shrub; hypanthium silky
                       Back to 6
Kunzea cambagei
14Pedicels ± 2 mm long15
Pedicels ± 3 mm long
                       Back to 5
Kunzea ericoides
15Hypanthia ± 3 mm wide16
15Hypanthia ± 2 mm wideKunzea axillaris
16Young stems rather densely hairyKunzea ambigua
Young stems glabrous or finely hairy and soon glabrescent
                       Back to 15
Kunzea occidentalis

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