Description: Shrub or small trees, with glabrous, or rarely pubescent, resinous vegetative parts.
Leaves simple, alternate or rarely opposite, margins entire or toothed, sessile but often tapering to a petiole-like base.
Flowers 1–12 in axils, ± actinomorphic. Sepals free or fused near the base, valvate or imbricate, ± equal. Corolla white or sometimes pinkish, spotted or unspotted; lobes regularly arranged or weakly 2-lipped. Stamens usually 4, exserted sometimes only beyond throat; anthers reniform. Ovary 2- or 4-locular, rarely more; 1 ovule per loculus.
Fruit drupaceous, succulent or rarely dry and laterally compressed.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 28 species, South-East Asia to Australia, Pacific, Mauritius. Australia: c 17 species (16 species endemic), all States.
A number are cultivated as ornamentals, in particular M. parvifolium, M. floribundum and M. bateae, or as windbreaks or hedge plants, M. insulare. Some are known to be poisonous to stock, including M. insulare and the New Zealand M. laetum Forster f. which is sometimes grown as a windbreak or shelter tree.
Text by R. J. Chinnock
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leaves and branches finely pubescent; fruit white often tinged pinkish||Myoporum betcheanum|
|Leaves and branches glabrous; fruit variously coloured, but if white not tinged with pink||2|
|2||Plants prostrate, creeping, forming mats; leaves oblanceolate, apex obtuse, less than 8 mm wide; fruit white or rarely brown||Myoporum parvifolium|
|Plants erect or appressed to coastal cliffs in exposed sites; leaves variable, apex obtuse or acute, more than 8 mm wide or if narrower leaf apex acute; fruit variable in colour but neither white nor brown|
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|3||Fruit fleshy to succulent, ovoid to subglobose, 3–5- locular||4|
|Fruit dry, compressed, ovate to oblong, 2-locular|
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|4||Fruit and ovary prominently wrinkled||Myoporum acuminatum|
|Fruit and ovary smooth|
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|5||Leaves with margins usually obscurely toothed towards apex; sepals distinctly imbricate, with obvious translucent membranous margins||Myoporum insulare|
|Leaves with margins entire; sepals valvate or very slightly imbricate, lacking obvious translucent membranous margins|
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|6||Leaves linear to elliptic, apex attenuate; flowers spotted||Myoporum montanum|
|Leaves ovate, obovate to oblanceolate or rarely more or less circular, apex obtuse to broad-acute; flowers unspotted|
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|7||Leaves linear to more or less terete, less than 2.5 mm wide, margins entire; foliage with an unpleasant smell||Myoporum floribundum|
|Leaves linear to elliptic, more than 3 mm wide, margins toothed at least in the upper half; foliage without an unpleasant smell|
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|8||Leaves finely toothed to near the base; fruit oblong, apex obtuse; sweetly scented shrub||Myoporum bateae|
|Leaves sparsely toothed in the upper third to two-thirds; fruit ovate, apex acute; not obviously odorous|
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