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  ― 229 ―

Tea Tree of New South Wales

Melaleuca? Trinervia

This is a small shrub, very much branched. The bark full of longitudinal fissures, and easily separated from the branches. Leaves on short footstalks, alternate, lanceolate, pointed, entire, about three-quarters of an inch in length, smooth on both sides, marked with three longitudinal ribs, and reticulated with transverse veins; they are also full of resinous spots, the seat of an aromatic essential oil. The flowers we have not seen, nor can we determine with certainty the genus of this plant. It most nearly approaches the Leptospermum virgatum of Forster, referred by the younger Linnæus, perhaps improperly, to Melaleuca. At least it may safely be determined to belong to the same genus with the Melaleuca virgata Linn. Supp. though a distinct species. The specific difference between them is, that the leaves of our plant have three ribs, whereas M. virgata has leaves perfectly destitute of ribs or veins. Hence we judge the figure and description of Rumphius, Herb. Amboin. V. 2. t. 18., to belong rather to our Tea Tree than to M. virgata; and if this conjecture be right, the plants are still further distinguished by the inflorescence, which in M. virgata is an umbel, whereas in the figure above mentioned the flowers are solitary.

a. Represents a leaf slightly magnified.

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