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Products > Agonis flexuosa
Agonis flexuosa - Peppermint Tree
Image of Agonis flexuosa
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Myrtaceae (Myrtles)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 25-40 feet
Width: 15-25 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
Agonis flexuosa (Peppermint Tree) - A small to medium fast-growing evergreen tree for mild winter regions that grows to 25-35 feet tall by as wide. It has drooping willow-like, long dark green leaves that have a distinct peppermint aroma when crushed and clusters of small white flowers with pink petal bases that appear in May to June. A great choice for street plantings, a specimen or lawn tree.

Plant in full sun to light shade in a well-drained soil with regular to occasional watering - moderately drought tolerant along the coast once established but is more lush with occasional deep irrigation. This tree is noted as not being tolerant of temperatures below 28 F but there are well established trees in locations in the Santa Barbara area that get occasional winter short durations temperatures to below 23 F. It also tolerates windy coastal conditions. Research on Western Australian plants has also shown this species to have some resistance to the Cinnamon Root fungus (Phytophthora cinnamomi). Agonis flexuosa comes from a strip just inland from the coast in Western Australia from north of Perth south through the Swan Coastal Plain, then along the southern coast to near Fitzgerald River National Park. There are several interpretations for how the name Agonis is derived. One interpretation is that the genus is named from the Greek word 'agonos' which is a combination of 'a' for "not" and 'gonia' for "angle" meaning "without angles" in reference to soft drooping branches of some species, while others believe it is from the Greek word 'agon' meaning "a gathering" or "a cluster" in reference to the arrangement of the fruit. The specific epithet comes from the Latin word 'flexuos' meaning "bending" or "curvy" in reference to the way the branches arch gracefully.

Other common names besides Peppermint Tree include Peppermint Willow, Western Australian Peppermint, Swan River Peppermint, Willow Myrtle. The Noongar, the Aboriginal Australian people who inhabited the south-west corner of Australia, called it Wonnil (also Wanil, Wonnow or Wonong) and used the tree for many purposes. The wood was used for tool making and the aromatic foliage for ceremonies and it or the oil used for healing medicine. In the US this tree is sometimes referred to as "Australian Willow" but this name is usually reserved for the somewhat similar looking Geijera parviflora.

Agonis flexuosa was first introduced into California in 1871 by Stephen Nolan at his Belluvue Nursery in San Francisco. We also grow several select cultivars of it, including Agonis flexuosa 'Burgundy', Agonis flexuosa 'Jervis Bay Afterdark' and Agonis flexuosa 'Nana'. We have grown this attractive and useful tree at our nursery since 1979 and there are many fine examples of it in the Santa Barbara area. 

This information about Agonis flexuosa displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.