Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

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Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby shibui » January 13th, 2018, 11:57 am

About 8 or 10 years ago I collected seed from some attractive Leptos growing on Smoky Cape, NSW, not far from the campground on the lighthouse rd. Parent trees were growing in cracks in a solid granite(?) outcrop. Small, twisted trees with nice bark that looked like they may have potential for bonsai.
The seedlings were very slightly frost sensitive but have always sprouted new shoots in spring. As they get older they seem slightly more cold tolerant.
They tolerate root pruning very well. They bud back on old wood very profusely after hard pruning. Internode length is relatively short.

As far as I can see they seem to be a great species for bonsai but o far I have not been able to identify the species.
This year one has finally flowered unexpectedly. If anyone can suggest an ID it would be great.

smoky cape lepto 1.JPG


smoky cape lepto 3.JPG


smoky cape lepto 4.JPG
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby melbrackstone » January 13th, 2018, 12:53 pm

I follow a group on fb who do a great job identifying NSW native plants. Would you allow me to lift your images and show them?
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby GavinG » January 13th, 2018, 1:49 pm

So what does it look like overall/as bonsai? It certainly barks up very nicely. Fast or slow growth? Have you tried to take cuttings?

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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby Keep Calm and Ramify » January 13th, 2018, 2:02 pm

Joel will probably know species - In his own words he is "an obsessive, compulsive identifier of plants".
Does the foliage have any [citrus?] scent.
Last edited by Keep Calm and Ramify on January 13th, 2018, 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby shibui » January 13th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Use images as widely as needed to get an ID please MelB

While not the fastest growing native I have it does develop at a reasonable rate Gavin. I'd describe the overall look of these as bonsai as 'hairy' or possibly 'untidy' but that could just be because I don't trim and pinch often enough. Branches and trunks have great movement, twists and turns, etc without too much effort - certainly far better than many others I've fought with. I just checked brittleness - branches will bend a bit but still snap relatively easily.
I have quite a few of these here but can't recall if I've grown cuttings. They may all still be from the original seed tray. In fact there are some that did not get pricked out and are still growing happily in the original tray. That's not bad to have survived my neglect and abuse in the same small container for quite a few years. I'll try to remember to take photos of some of them so you can independently assess their 'bonsai look'

This one does come from a little way outside Joel's backyard so it might stretch him a little but I hope he can give us an opinion or some suggestions.
I know it looks like L. petersonii and that species does grow in the Smoky Cape area but there is definitely no citrus smell to the leaves of this one.
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby melbrackstone » January 13th, 2018, 8:06 pm

Apparently not all Leptospermum petersonii have the lemon scented leaves...but the standard height is 5m-ish. Interesting... still waiting to hear from the experts, meanwhile I've checked out PlantNET and discovered this instance of L. petersonii at Smoky Cape.
http://avh.ala.org.au/occurrences/e5ac3 ... 3c35f4b046
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby shibui » January 14th, 2018, 6:40 am

As requested Gavin - some pictures of the Smoky Cape leptos I've been growing as possible bonsai.
lepto Smoky Cape 2018 1 1.JPG


lepto Smoky Cape 2018 1 3.JPG


lepto Smoky Cape 2018 1 5.JPG


lepto Smoky Cape 2018 1 7.JPG


You can probably see why I've described its growth habit as hairy. The one in the first picture has had at least one trim this summer, the others have just grown without intervention.
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby GavinG » January 14th, 2018, 4:57 pm

Thanks Shibui, your blood's worth bottling! They definitely look like good bonsai prospects. The leaf doesn't look a million miles away from L. obavatum, and the bark looks similar. If it is L. ob., I agree that they can get some good bends and sweeps if you prune early, then let it have its head to thicken up.

Good find.

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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby shibui » January 14th, 2018, 5:45 pm

The problem with these Leptos is that lots of them have similar bark and leaves :shake:
According to PlantNET L. obovatum does not occur naturally much further north of Sydney so it should not be growing in Hat Head national park. Ready to be convinced otherwise but, at the moment, still looking........
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby melbrackstone » January 14th, 2018, 6:01 pm

I've obviously stumped them on the fb page, no one has responded at all. First time I've noticed a post go through to the keeper... might bump it tomorrow and see if it gets a response.
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby melbrackstone » January 15th, 2018, 12:58 pm

Had two responses today Neil, and they both seem convinced the plant is L. petersonii...stunted growth because of the fact it only had a crack to grow in...
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby shibui » January 15th, 2018, 6:44 pm

Thanks for chasing it up Mel. I have not heard that lemon scented Ti tree sometimes does not have lemon scent. I will chase that angle up.

At the same time I collected this seed I got seed of another species that did have a strong lemon scent but with tiny leaves. They were growing on elevated patches of tussock in a swamp near the campground. None of those survived for more than a few years with repeated frosts each winter.

Lepto species listed for Hat Head NP are:
L. laevegatum - this sp is nothing like the type we get down here in Vic so I discounted that as a possibility.
L. petersonii ssp petersonii
L. polygalum ssp crismontanum - does anyone know what that should look like? internet pictures I have found are a bit vague.
L. trinervium - seems to have flaky bark, different to this species and leaves should be shorter.
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Re: Lepto from Smoky Cape, NSW

Postby GavinG » January 17th, 2018, 12:57 pm

From what I vaguely remember from ANBG sales, L. polygalifolium looks possible.

We possibly need an index of which Lepto species don't shoot back at all, which shoot back on last year's wood when cut back to green, and which you can cut back to bare wood. Complicating that is that RogerH says that some varieties in a species will reshoot when others won't. I can never remember which do what.

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