Plant Profiles

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Lemon Myrtle
(Citriodora Backhousia)

Lemon Myrtle is an Australian native tree, indigenous to the coastal, sub-tropical rainforest of Queensland occuring naturally in coastal forests from Brisbane to Mackay. It is known by several names; Lemon Ironwood, Lemon-scented Myrtle, Sweet Verbena Tree, Sweet Verbena Myrtle and Lemon Scented Verbena.

It has the world’s richest known natural sources of citral (90-98%) or lemon oil. It’s highly aromatic, delicious flavour and aroma is of a blend of lemongrass, lime and lemon. The leaves hold their flavour and aroma considerably longer than other lemon flavours as it is more concentrated. It is not acidic and doesn’t contain caffeine, so its an excellent choice for herbal tea and is used in a variety of recipes.

Laboratory research has shown the essential oil to be highly anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. In backyards it tends to grow to 8m, but can get up to 30m in ideal conditions. An evergreen, attractive tree with low hanging branches it easily propagates easily from cuttings (tip cuttings taken in March), grows in poor soil and is very hardy.

Be on the look out for Myrtle Rust, which attacks Lemon Myrtles (and other varieties) read more about it here and here.