Conothamnus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Myrtaceae and is endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. They are woody shrubs similar to melaleucas but differ in that their leaves are usually arranged in opposite pairs and the maximum number of seeds per fruit is three. (Melaleucas usually have alternately arranged leaves and there may be hundreds of very fine seeds in each woody capsule.)

Conothamnus
Conothamnus aureus (leaves flowers and fruit).jpg
Conothamnus aureus leaves, flowers and fruit
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Subfamily: Myrtoideae
Tribe: Melaleuceae
Genus: Conothamnus
Lindl.
Synonyms[1]

Trichobasis Turcz.

DescriptionEdit

Plants in the genus Conothamnus are shrubs with their thinner branches covered with silky hairs. Their leaves are small, arranged in pairs and dotted with oil glands. The flowers have both male and female parts or sometimes have only fertile male parts. The flowers are arranged in small heads or spikes in the angles of leaves near the ends of the branches and are a shade of white to yellow. They have 5 sepals and 5 petals, except in Conothamnus aureus which appears to lack petals. There are many stamens, arranged in 5 bundles around the edge of the flower and are a shade of white to yellow. It is the stamens that give the flower its colour. The fruit that follows is a woody capsule.[2][3]

 
C. aureus growing near Scaddan

Taxonomy and namingEdit

Conothamnus was first formally described as a genus in 1839 by John Lindley in A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony.[1][4][5] He noted:[6]

...[it] bears to Melaleuca the same relation as Beaufortia to Calothamnus; that is to say, it differs in having the fruit only three-seeded instead of many-seeded; to this plant, which is more curious than beautiful, the name of Conothamnus trinervis may be given.

The name Conothamnus is derived from the Ancient Greek κῶνος (kônos) meaning "cone"[7]:227 and θάμνος (thamnos) meaning "shrub".[7]:174

Distribution and habitatEdit

Conothamnus species are restricted to near-coastal areas of the south-west in the Avon Wheatbelt, Esperance Plains, Jarrah Forest, Warren, Geraldton Sandplains, Mallee and Swan Coastal Plain biogeographic regions.[2] They grow in sand or sandy loam in gravelly areas, swampy plains, flats and sand dunes.[8]

Three species of Conothamnus are recognised by the Western Australian Herbarium:

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ a b "Conothamnus Lindl.". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  3. ^ Kubitzki, Klaus (1990). The families and genera of vascular plants. Berlin: Springer. p. 237. ISBN 9783642143960. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Conothamnus Lindl.". APNI. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  5. ^ Tropicos, Conothamnus Lindl.
  6. ^ Lindley, John (1839). A Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony (Appendix IX). Piccadilly, London: James Ridgway. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  7. ^ a b Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  8. ^ Paczkowska, Grazyna; Chapman, Alex R. (2000). The Western Australian flora : a descriptive catalogue. Perth: Wildflower Society of Western Australia. p. 356. ISBN 0646402439.
  9. ^ "Conothamnus aureus". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  10. ^ "Conothamnus neglectus". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  11. ^ "Conothamnus trinervis". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.