30 June 2009

Taxandria marginata - Myrtaceae

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Taxandria marginata - Myrtaceae

Taxandria marginata was previously known as Agonis marginata, but in 2007 the Agonis genus was split into three genera, Taxandria, Paragonis and Agonis. The most obvious difference between them is the number a stamens each have, with Taxandria having 10 or fewer, Agonis 15-30 and Paragonis 22-35, there are other differences like flower size, number of ovules per cell, etc., but stamen number is the quickest way to determine genus.

In the Esperance region Taxandria marginata is mainly found to the east of Esperance, from the coast to about 100 km (60 miles) inland and largely restricted to granite outcrops. In coastal situations this shrub will grow to 3 metres (10') in height, but is often stunted by strong winds to be much less than this. On large granite outcrops away from the influence of strong coastal winds, this spreading bushy shrub can grow taller, but here they usually follow sunken wide vegetated drainage channels, which often lead to swampy areas at their base. Although very bushy to ground level, if you can find an opening, they are reasonably open inside with a dense overhead, green umbrella like canopy and thick leaf-litter underfoot. The loose bark covered trunks angle outwards to eventually overpower and smother nearby smaller shrubs to create this habitat, which in consolation, can provide an excellent sheltered environment for orchids and various shade loving plant species.

The leaves are a rich green and when young, with a row of neat, short white hairs around their edge. Providing there is sufficient rainfall, flowers will bloom for long periods with new ones continuingly developing in growing leaf axils, this generally happens from autumn through to spring.