This free and easy-to-use interactive key, the ‘NZ Myrtaceae Key’, is designed to help accurately identify important species within the myrtle family that grow in Aotearoa – New Zealand.
The arrival of myrtle rust (a fungal disease caused by Austropuccinia psidii) to New Zealand provided the impetus for the development of this identification key, funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Biosecurity New Zealand. MPI Biosecurity NZ has a role in protecting the primary sectors and the environment from biological risk through biosecurity surveillance and incursion response to invasive pests and pathogens.
This key is designed to provide accurate identification of species of Myrtaceae in New Zealand, which will assist in reporting myrtle rust occurrences for the long-term monitoring and development of management options.
Plant names used in this key (as at August 2020) are those of the Ngā Tipu o Aotearoa – New Zealand Plants database (PND), the Australian Plant Census (APC), the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and Plants of the World Online (POWO).
There are 97 main entities included in this key (mostly species, but also subspecies, hybrids, and cultivars).
Entities (taxa) were selected to include all indigenous New Zealand species (except Kunzea salterae, K. toelkenii, and K. triregensis, which are local endemics and seldom encountered), cultivated and naturalised species, common eucalypts and a range of other exotic species and genera, and species with susceptibility to myrtle rust (where known).
Features (characters and character states) were chosen to be easy to use and the most informative (to best resolve the entities included in this key).
Botanically, characters are the numerous features studied by botanists (e.g. plant form, leaf width, flower colour). Character states are the different expressions of a given character (e.g. plant form: tree; leaf width: 10 mm; flower colour: red). This key contains 30 characters and more than 100 character states.
Character states scored in this key were taken from printed and online botanical descriptions, images, and examination of herbarium specimens held at the Allan Herbarium (CHR, Lincoln) and National Forestry Herbarium (NZFRI, Scion, Rotorua).
More than 1,600 plant images have been built into the NZ Myrtaceae Key. These have been selected to show a range of diagnostic characters helpful in identification.
Images were sourced from the authors’ own collections, and from those of our collaborators, including Alex Fergus, Chris Morse, David Glenny, and Peter Heenan (MWLR); Jeremy Rolfe and John Barkla (Department of Conservation); Trevor James (AgResearch); and the late Phil Bendle (CitSciHub). We also gratefully acknowledge the iNaturalist community for contributing images.
All photographers are named in the image captions, along with their chosen Creative Commons licences.
The NZ Myrtaceae Key was developed during 2019/20 by botanists Murray Dawson (MWLR), Matt Buys and Elizabeth Miller (National Forestry Herbarium), Peter de Lange (Unitec), Chris Ecroyd, and Colin Ogle.
The wider team of developers included Mike Cochrane, Paula Greer, Ray Prebble, and Rob Smissen (MWLR), and staff from MPI Biosecurity New Zealand (PHEL Botany, Mycology and Bacteriology teams, and Operational Research).
This key was built using Lucid software. Please see ‘Using the key’ for tips on best practice for using Lucid identification keys. LucidTM is a trademark of Identic Pty Ltd.
The NZ Myrtaceae Key is available from Google Play (Android) and Apple’s App Store (iOS) as mobile (smartphone) apps suitable for undertaking identifications in the field. In addition, a web-based (browser) version is hosted by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research (MWLR).
- Allan HH 1961 [reprinted 1982]. Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Indigenous Tracheophyta – Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledons. Government Printer, Wellington. https://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%201.xml.
- Bean AR 1992. The genus Leptospermum Forst. et Forst.f. (Myrtaceae) in northern Australia and Malesia. Austrobaileya 3(4): 643–659.
- Beresford R, Smith G, Ganley B, Campbell R 2019. Impacts of myrtle rust in New Zealand since its arrival in 2017. New Zealand Garden Journal 22(2): 5–10.
- Boland DJ, Brooker MIH, Chippendale GM, Hall N, Hyland BPM, Johnston RD, Kleinig DA, McDonald MW, Turner JD (eds.) 2006. Forest trees of Australia. 5th edition. CSIRO, Australia.
- Brooker MIH, Kleinig DA 1999. Field Guide to Eucalypts, Vol. 1. South-Eastern & southern Australia. Bloomings Books, Australia.
- Dawson M 2009. A history of Leptospermum scoparium in cultivation: Discoveries from the wild. New Zealand Garden Journal 12(2): 21–25. www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_21-25_from_2009_Vol12_No2.pdf.
- Dawson M 2010. A history of Leptospermum scoparium in cultivation: Garden selections. New Zealand Garden Journal 13(1): 2–9. www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_2-9_from_2010_Vol13_No1-3.pdf
- Dawson M 2012. Australian Leptospermum in cultivation: Species and cultivars. New Zealand Garden Journal 15(2): 14–22. www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_14-22_from_2012_Vol15_No2.pdf.
- Dawson M 2013. Australian Leptospermum in cultivation: Interspecific hybrids. New Zealand Garden Journal 16(1): 2–15. www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_2-15_from_2013_Vol16_No1.pdf.
- Dawson M, Hobbs J, Platt G, Rumbal J 2010. Metrosideros in cultivation: Pōhutukawa. New Zealand Garden Journal 13(1): 10–22. www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_10-22_from_2010_Vol13_No1.pdf.
- Dawson M, Hobbs J, Platt G, Rumbal J 2010. Metrosideros in cultivation: Rātā and other species. New Zealand Garden Journal 13(2): 10–23. www.rnzih.org.nz/RNZIH_Journal/Pages_10-23_from_2010_Vol13_No2.pdf.
- de Lange P 2014. A revision of the New Zealand Kunzea ericoides (Myrtaceae) complex. PhytoKeys 40: 1–185. https://doi.org/10.3897/phytokeys.40.7973.
- de Lange PJ, Rolfe JR, Barkla JW, Courtney SP, Champion PD, Perrie LR, Beadel SM, Ford KA, Breitwieser I, Schonberger I, Hindmarsh-Walls R, Heenan PB, Ladley K 2018. Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2017. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 22. Department of Conservation, Wellington. www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/science-and-technical/nztcs22entire.pdf.
- Gaddum M 2001. The Trade Plant Finder 2001. New Zealand Plant Finder, Gisborne.
- George AS (ed). 1988. Flora of Australia. Vol. 19. Myrtaceae – Eucalyptus, Angophora. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. www.environment.gov.au/system/files/pages/639cb95c-caba-408d-8657-98581bd790eb/files/flora-australia-19-myrtaceae-v2.pdf.
- Metcalf LJ 1987. The cultivation of New Zealand trees and shrubs. Reed Methuen, Auckland.
- Miller E 2019. Luma present – where is Amomyrtus? Resolving the confusion in New Zealand. New Zealand Garden Journal 22(1): 10–13.
- Thompson J 1989. A revision of the genus Leptospermum (Myrtaceae). Telopea 3(3): 301–448.
- Webb CJ, Sykes WR, Garnock-Jones PJ 1988. Flora of New Zealand Vol. IV. Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons. Botany Division DSIR, Christchurch. https://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%204.xml.
- Wilson PG 2011. Myrtaceae. In: The families and genera of vascular plants. Vol. X. Sapindales, Cucurbitales, Myrtaceae. Kubitzki K (ed.): 212–271. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg.
Websites (as at October 2020)
- Auckland Museum Collections online: www.aucklandmuseum.com/discover/collections-online.
- Australia’s Flora: Growing Native Plants: www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/index.html.
- Australian Plant Census (APC): https://biodiversity.org.au/nsl/services/APC.
- Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants: Myrtaceae: www.canbr.gov.au/cpbr/cd-keys/RFK7/key/RFK7/Media/Html/entities/Myrtaceae.htm.
- Australasian Virtual Herbarium (AVH): https://avh.chah.org.au.
- Citizen Science Hub for Taranaki (CitSciHub): Phil Bendle Collection: www.citscihub.nz/Category:Phil_Bendle_Collection.
- EUCLID: Eucalypts of Australia: https://apps.lucidcentral.org/euclid/text/intro/index.html.
- Flora of Australia: Myrtaceae Juss.: https://profiles.ala.org.au/opus/foa/profile/Myrtaceae.
- Flora of New Zealand Online: Myrtaceae: www.nzflora.info/factsheet/Taxon/Myrtaceae.html.
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF): Myrtaceae: www.gbif.org/species/5014.
- iNaturalist: Myrtle Family (Family Myrtaceae): www.inaturalist.org/taxa/51816-Myrtaceae.
- Myrtle rust in New Zealand: www.myrtlerust.org.nz/.
- New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN): Flora Species: Myrtaceae: www.nzpcn.org.nz/flora/species/?family_name=Myrtaceae.
- Ngā Tipu o Aotearoa – New Zealand Plants database: https://nzflora.landcareresearch.co.nz/default.aspx?NavControl=search&selected=NameSearch.
- PlantNET: New South Wales Flora Online: Family Myrtaceae: https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=fm&name=Myrtaceae.
- Plants of South Eastern New South Wales: https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/intro/index.html.
- Plants of the World Online (POWO): Myrtaceae: www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/?q=Myrtaceae.
- Systematics Collections Data (SCD): https://scd.landcareresearch.co.nz.
- VicFlora: Flora of Victoria: Myrtaceae: https://vicflora.rbg.vic.gov.au/flora/taxon/7cc7f482-9966-4860-a834-2608a8949a0b.
- Weeds of Australia: Biosecurity Queensland: https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/index.htm.
- Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page.
- Wikipedia: Myrtaceae: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrtaceae.