T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Lophomyrtus ×ralphii (Small-leaved ramarama)

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Lophomyrtus
Hybrid of  L. bullata and L. obcordata
Scientific name: Lophomyrtus ×ralphii
Synonym: Myrtus ralphii
Common Name: Small-leaved ramarama

Lophomyrtus ×ralphii is a natural Taranaki hybrid between Lophomyrtus bullata and Lophomyrtus obcordata. It has smaller leaves and with fewer-seeded berries than the parents. It is an erect branching shrub of about 2 metres or more, sometimes becoming a small tree. This feature of hybridization has been commercially exploited with a wide range of nursery-bred, selected and named cultivars that derive from the same parental stock. The former New Plymouth nursery Duncan Davies, for example, released cultivars with such names as ‘Indian Chief’, ‘Katherine’, ‘Purpurea’, ‘Technicolor’, ‘Sundae’ and the like, each with some distinct colour or character but all deriving one way or the other from Lophomyrtus hybrids.

The leaves of Lophomyrtus ×ralphii  are small >18mm long and have a width of >16mm. There is a small notch on the tip of the leaves. 

At the Meeting of the Waters, you can still find both the Lophomyrtus parents and intermediate ‘polymorphic’ variations. They are easily located on both sides of the Waiwhakaiho River and in the adjacent remnant forest, and particularly at the eastern end of the reserve.

For more history of this shrub visit: http://www.taranakiflora.co.nz/lophomyrtus_xralphii.html 

Photographed at the Meeting of the Waters reserve in Taranaki.

The underside of the leaves.

The trunk of the above tree.

Seed capsule May.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/