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Products > Melicytus dentatus
 
Melicytus dentatus - Tree Violet
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Violaceae (Violets)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pale Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Hymenanthera dentata]
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
Melicytus dentatus (Tree Violet) An evergreen dense growing shrub or small tree to 15-20 feet tall with small dark green narrow leaves that have slightly dentated margins. In spring appear the pale yellow small bell-shaped flowers that are strongly daphne-scented. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Tolerant of most soils, including alkaline, sandy or clay, so long as they are well-draining. Tolerant moderate frosts down to at least 18° F, though new young foliage might be nipped back. This is a very tough plant that can be used as a hedge, screen or trained up as a small tree and then it is compared in appearance to a small olive. The spring flowers can perfume a garden and are so strong that some caution putting it too close to living areas. Grows native in open forests and woodlands in southeastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales south to northeastern and southwestern Victoria. The name for the genus roughly translates to “honey basket from the Greek words 'meli' meaning "honey" and 'kytos' meaning a "container" or a "jar" in reference to the tiny, nectar-filled flowers. This Australian plant has long been called Hymenanthera dentata and was described under this name in 1818. The etymology of this name is from the Greek word 'hymen' meaning a "membrane" and 'antheros' meaning "flowering" that in Latin lead to 'anthra' meaning an "anther" in reference to the membranous appendages of the anthers. Though not widely accepted early on, this species was merged In 1970 with the New Zealand species of Melicytus, whose type species was described in 1775, so this older genus name took priority. We first received this very interesting plant (as Hymenanthera dentata) in 2019 from Jo O'Connell of Australian Native Plant Nursery, who showed us her nice specimen small tree after we asked what that lovely smell was that perfumed her garden. Our plants are all cuttings from this small tree, but Jo also has a second specimen not trained up that screens her home from the nearby highway.  The information provided on this webpage is based on the research that we have conducted about this plant in our nursery library and that information that we have found about it on reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations in our nursery of crops of this plant, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens. We will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information aiding others in growing Melicytus dentatus.
 
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