Leptospermum scoparium J. R. & G. Forst.
A compact evergreen bush of rounded, very twiggy habit, occasionally attaining the dimensions of a small tree in the wild; young wood sparsely hairy, or almost glabrous. Leaves alternate, linear-oblong to linear-lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 in. long 1⁄12 to 1⁄6 in. wide; sharply pointed, fragrant when bruised, dotted with transparent oil-glands. Flowers white, 1⁄2 in. in diameter, produced singly from the leaf axils in spring; petals round, set well apart from each other, the triangular calyx-lobes showing between them. Fruit woody, globose, the size of a pea, many-seeded.
Native of Australia and New Zealand. It thrives outside in the south-western counties where there are bushes 15 to 20 ft high. In the woods at Tresco Abbey in the Isles of Scilly there are beautiful groves of self-sown seedlings, some with pink flowers. At Kew it has to be grown against a wall, and even there is apt to be killed in severe weather. Easily increased by cuttings.
cv. ‘Boscawenii’. – Flowers white, 1 in. across, with a bright rose centres buds rosy-pink. Award of Merit when shown by the Rev. A. T. Boscawen on 22 May 1912. He raised it from seed received from New Zealand in 1909.
cv. ‘Chapmanii’. – Flowers deep rosy-red; foliage bronze-coloured. The first of the coloured forms to be cultivated, ‘Chapmanii’ was found by Justice Chapman in 1890 near Dunedin, Otago. It is hardier than the more famous ‘Nichollsii’ and produced self-sown seedlings in the late N. G. Hadden’s garden at West Porlock, Somerset.
var. eximium Burtt – Leaves broadly ovate to almost orbicular. Flowers about 3⁄4 in. across, pure white. Habit robust. A native of S. and S.E. Tasmania, near the coast. Introduced by Comber from near Port Arthur under C.1508 and recommended for an Award of Merit when shown from Exbury in May 1938 (award confirmed 1940). Bot. Mag., t. 9582.
var. incanum Ckn. – Flowers large, tinged with pink. Leaves lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, silky-hairy beneath when young. Common in North Auckland, New Zealand. ‘Keatleyi’ (q.v.) may belong here.
cv. ‘Keatleyi’. – Flowers soft pink, paler at the edge, about 1 in. across. Foliage grey-green. Found by Capt. Keatley in the North Island of New Zealand. It is tender and was given an award of Merit as a shrub for the cool greenhouse when shown by P. M. Synge on 25 April 1961.
cv. ‘Leonard Wilson’. – Flowers double, pure white. Found by L. H. Wilson growing on his own property at Port Levy in the Banks Peninsula. Another double-flowered white was discovered at Torrent Bay in Nelson and distributed by Messrs Nairn (Cockayne, Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 50, p. 179).
cv. ‘Nanum’. – A dense dwarf shrublet growing to about 12 in. high with dark bronzy-green leaves. Flowers pale pink, with crimson centres. It is not reliably hardy, but will come through average winters in a sheltered position. Raised by Messrs Duncan and Davies of New Zealand, and given an Award of Merit when shown by Messrs Ingwersen on 10 June 1952.
cv. ‘Nichollsii’. – The original plant of this well-known crimson manuka grew wild on a sheep-run north of Christchurch. The man whom the name commemorates, a wool-buyer, did not discover it but procured a branch with ripe capsules which he gave to Messrs Nairn around 1904. From these, 107 seedlings were raised, of which seven had crimson flowers, and of these the best was named ‘Nichollsii’. It was introduced to Britain in 1908, when a plant was received at Tresco. In 1912 it was shown by the Rev. A. T. Boscawen at the International Horticultural Exhibition at Chelsea, when it received a First Class Certificate and a cup for the finest plant exhibited.
The flowers of ‘Nichollsii’ are crimson with a deeper centre and about 5⁄8 in. across. Leaves linear-lanceolate, rather small, deep bronzy-purple on open-ground plants.
cv. ‘Nichollsii Nanum’. – Flowers deep crimson pink with a darker eye. Foliage deep bronzy-purple. Habit dwarf. Raised by J. Hope, head gardener to A. T. Bulley and later to Miss Bulley at Mickwell Brow, The Wirral, Cheshire (now the Botanic Garden of the University of Liverpool). It received an Award of Merit when shown by Mr Hope in 1953.
var. prostratum Hook. f. – Described by Hooker (Fl. Nov. Zel., Vol. 1, p. 70) as a prostrate shrub with ascending branchlets and broad-ovate to orbicular leaves. Prostrate plants are quite common in the wild and some may retain their habit when brought into cultivation. They would not, however, necessarily have leaves as in Hooker’s type specimen. Most of the plants grown in gardens as L. scoparium prostratum are really the Tasmanian L. humifusum.
cv. ‘Red Damask’. – See below.
cv. ‘Roseum’. – Flowers about 1 in. across, pale pink with a crimson centre. Raised by Canon Boscawen at the Ludgvan Rectory. Award of Merit 1928 and First Class Certificate 1937.
cv. ‘Ruby Glow’. – See below.
In 1939 Dr W. E. Lammerts of the University of California crossed ‘Nichollsii’ (seed-parent) with a manuka with double rose-coloured flowers. The seven plants raised all had single flowers. Seed from these was sown in the autumn of 1943 and about 1,000 seedlings were raised of which 830 were planted out in 1944. Many of these had double flowers (Journ. Calif. Hort. Soc., Vol. 6, pp. 250-257). One of the first to be named and distributed (1946) was ‘Ruby Glow’, with deep-red, fully double flowers about 1⁄2 in. across, red stems and bronzy foliage. But the best-known of these crosses, named and distributed a little later, is ‘Red Damask’, which received an Award of Merit when shown by the Slieve Donard Nursery Company on 28 June 1955. Flowers fully double, slightly over 1⁄2 in. across, deep cherry-red. It is of dense habit, grows to about 6 ft high and is exceptionally free-flowering.
From the Supplement (Vol. V)
† cv. ‘Martinii’. – Flowers 3⁄4 in. or slightly more wide, at first almost white but soon darkening to deep pink. Raised in New Zealand, this is considered to be one of the finest manukas and is available in commerce in Britain.
cv. ‘Nanum’. – From this Messrs Duncan and Davies have raised a number of dwarf cultivars, named after New Zealand birds. The most notable are ‘Nanum Hula’, with deep pink flowers, and ‘Nanum Tui’ with white or very pale pink flowers.