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Mountain Tea-tree

Leptospermum sp. (most likely is L. polygalifolium ssp. montanum)


Definitely a tea-tree, and one of a dozen or so species found in the genus Leptospermum, in Girraween National Park (see notes). Belonging to the family Myrtaceae, most Leptospermum species are endemic to Australia. Some specimens were shrub-size, whilst others were tree-size. I spotted these trees only at the highest points in the park - at the top of Castle Rock. This cluster of trees occupy the crevices in the granite that make up the monolith. Debris accumulates, and the plants can grow in this. Not the best photos, but the flowers and leaves can be seen. Black Cypress Pines (Callitris endlicheri) were growing along side them. Both appear to be very hardy species, perfectly suited to this environment.


Spotted in native bushland in Girraween National Park, at the very peak of Castle Rock. Remote, lots are granite boulders, very sandy soil. Fully exposed to the extreme elements, day and night temperatures, and seasonal variations. Often extreme heat in summer, little water, and frosts/snow in winter. Most common in moist nutrient-poor soils although they sometimes occupy other situations. Here's some park info -


Of the many species of Leptospermum to be found in Girraween and other areas of the Granite Belt region, these species stand out as being the most likely ID for this spotting, and in order of preference: (1) L. polygalifolium aka common tea tree, wild may, tantoon, yellow tea tree, mountain tea tree. There are also six subspecies, but L. polygalifolium ssp. montanum is geographically the most likely The habitat for this subspecies is as follows, and is a good description of the location where I found this spotting: It grows at the heads of mountain streams, or in rocky areas within crevices with shallow soils, often derived from granite or basalt. Usually seen in relatively fire free areas at high altitude in rainforests or rainforest margins north of the Barrington Tops region. The most northerly recording is at Mount Cordeaux. The range is perfect for this spotting. (2) L. arachnoides aka prickly tea tree, and (3) Leptospermum novae-angliae aka New England tea tree.

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Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

Everything on these monoliths is exposed to the harshest elements. Wind, most certainly, and the massive storms which roll through this Granite Belt region. This area is well known for its extremes. Just prior to Christmas there was a large fire that went through the park, although this particular area was spared.

Maria dB
Maria dB 5 years ago

Is there a lot of wind which causes the trunks to bend as they grow? Nice spotting.

Neil Ross
Spotted by
Neil Ross

Queensland, Australia

Spotted on Feb 25, 2015
Submitted on Feb 28, 2015

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