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WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC BOTANY
Darwinia hortiorum (Myrtaceae:
Chamelaucieae), a new species from the
Darling Range, Western Australia
Nuytsia 20: 277–281 (2010)
K.R. Thiele, Darwinia hortiorum (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae), a new species
Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Environment and Conservation,
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6983
Thiele, K.R. Darwinia hortiorum (Myrtaceae: Chamelaucieae), a new species from the Darling
Range, Western Australia. Nuytsia 20: 277–281 (2010). The distinctive, new, rare species Darwinia
hortiorum is described, illustrated and discussed. Uniquely in the genus it has strongly curved-
zygomorphic flowers with the sigmoid styles arranged so that they group towards the centre of the
Darwinia Rudge comprises c. 90 species, mostly from the south-west of Western Australia with
c. 15 species in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Phylogenetic analyses (M. Barrett,
unpublished) have shown that the genus is polyphyletic, with distinct eastern and western Australian
clades. Along with the related genera Actinodium Schauer, Chamelaucium Desf., Homoranthus A.Cunn.
ex Schauer and Pileanthus Labill., the Darwinia clades are nested in a paraphyletic Verticordia DC.
Many undescribed species of Darwinia are known in Western Australia, and these are being
progressively described (Rye 1983; Marchant & Keighery 1980; Marchant 1984; Keighery & Marchant
2002; Keighery 2009). A significant number of taxa in the genus are narrowly endemic or rare and
are of high conservation significance. Although taxonomic reassignment of the Western Australian
species of Darwinia may be required in the future, resolving the status of these undescribed species
and describing them under their current genus helps provide information for conservation assessments
Darwinia hortiorum K.R.Thiele was first collected by Fred and Jean Hort in 2008 from granite
outcrops in the Monadnocks Conservation Park and adjacent Boonering State Forest. It is clearly
distinct from any known taxon, and is described here as new.
Species floribus valde curvatis zygomorphicis, stylis sigmoideis a congeneribus diversa.
Australia, 15 November 2009, F. Hort 3525 & K. Thiele (holo: PERTH08243832; iso: CANB, MEL,
Darwinia sp. Wandering (F. Hort 3273), Western Australian Herbarium, in FloraBase, http://florabase.
calm.wa.gov.au [accessed 20 July 2010]
Erect to spreading, densely branched, rather compact, glabrous shrubs to 70 cm tall and to 80 cm
wide, single-stemmed at the base with spreading main branches bearing numerous, ascending, leafy
branchlets; young stems pale, with corrugate-corky, decurrent ridges extending for several nodes
below each leaf insertion; bark on older stems reddish-brown, papery, decorticating in flakes. Leaves
alternate, widely spreading, ± triquetrous, narrowly ovate to almost linear, 3–6 mm long, c. 1 mm
wide, with a petiole c. 0.3 mm long; adaxial surface dark green, flat, nerveless, with obscure, sunken,
pale oil glands tending to form a row each side of the midline; abaxial surface paler, keeled by a
prominent, thickened midrib, with obscure, sunken, pale, scattered oil glands; margins entire or
minutely, irregularly denticulate, with a very narrow, hyaline border; apex hyaline-acuminate but
not pungent. Inflorescences erect, terminal to seasonal growth units (which continue to grow shortly
after flowering), comprising 14–18(–22) pedunculate, 2-bracteolate flowers each in the axil of a bract,
the apex vegetative and growing on shortly after flowering; inflorescence bracts slightly longer and
wider than the leaves but otherwise similar; peduncles of the lowermost flowers 1.5–3.5 mm long,
upper ones successively shorter; bracteoles broadly ovate, obtuse, with or without a soft, terminal
apiculum, connate for the lowermost 1/4–1/3, closely enveloping the base of the hypanthium, c. 4 mm
long (extending to the base of the sepals), scarious, pale brown with a darker, keeled midrib, with
scattered translucent oil glands towards the apex. Hypanthium deeply 5-grooved, curved, 3.5–4 mm
long, smooth, glossy reddish-brown paler at the base; sepals c. 3 mm long, erect (closely appressed
to the petals), obtuse, thick, fleshy, dark green with pale, scarious margins, warty with scattered,
prominent, pale oil glands; petals 2–3 mm long, those facing the centre of the inflorescence shorter
than those opposite so that the corolla is curved-zygomorphic, incurved-erect, obtuse, thick, fleshy
(similar in texture to the sepals), pale yellowish or suffused with crimson, smooth, glossy, with few,
embedded oil glands. Stamens 10; anthers globose, c. 0.3 mm long, on filaments 0.8–1.5 mm long,
protruding between the petals after anthesis; staminodes ovate, obtuse, c. 0.6 mm long, largely free
from the stamens. Style distinctly sigmoid, the free portion curved so that the styles group towards the
centre of the inflorescence, pale greenish to pale pink; substigmatic hairs c. 0.25 mm long, in a band
conservation reasons] Boonering State Forest, 23 Aug. 2008, F. Hort 3212 & J. Hort; Boonering State
Forest, 23 Sep. 2008, F. Hort 3273; Boonering State Forest, 2 Nov. 2009, F. Hort 3514; Monadnocks
Conservation Park, 15 Nov. 2009, F. Hort 3526 & J. Hort.
of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2008), in an area c. 3 × 3 km in the Monadnocks
Conservation Park and adjacent Boonering State Forest (Figure 2).
Habitat. All known populations are found in jarrah forest growing in association with large granite
outcrops and their drainage lines. Close to the outcrops the plants are usually found growing in shallow
granitic soil with broken stone fringing the main outcrops. On drainage lines more distant from
outcrops the plants are found growing in loam or loam/clay soil associated with laterite. Characteristic
associated species include Allocasuarina humilis, Andersonia spp., Grevillea bipinnatifida, G. manglesii,
Banksia recurvistylis, Hakea undulata, H. trifurcata, Verticordia insignis, Calytrix depressa,
Xanthorrhoea preissii and Hibbertia hypericoides.
Phenology. Flowers from late September to early December.
Figure 1. Darwinia hortiorum. A – individual shrub; B – flowering branchlets; C, D – inflorescences (C – red-flowered
variant; D – yellow-flowered variant); E – individual flower of the red-flowered variant. Photographers: A, B – J. Hort;
C, D, E – K.Thiele.
localized distribution. It is locally common where it occurs, with population estimates to >500 plants.
Some populations are in a gazetted Conservation Park; however, the area in which it occurs is threatened
by Phytophthora cinnamomi dieback. Plants are killed by fire; many non-flowering juvenile plants have
been observed in an area burnt 3-4 years previously (F. Hort, pers. comm.), suggesting that frequent
fires may be deleterious for the species.
and national treasures.
similar to D. thymoides, which occurs with it at some sites. Both species are small shrubs with small,
± erect inflorescences lacking distinctly differentiated inflorescence bracts. However, D. thymoides
has opposite, ± flat leaves, fewer (2–10) flowers per inflorescence, small, free bracteoles <1/4 the
length of the hypanthium, styles which are incurved at the apex and distinctive, warty oil glands at
the apices of the petals. Vegetatively, D. hortiorum is similar to D. apiculata, but the inflorescences
in that species are subtended by differentiated, coloured bracts.
Figure 2. Distribution of Darwinia hortiorum ( ) in south-west
Western Australia. IBRA Bioregion boundaries (Department
of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2008) are
shown in grey
Many species of Darwinia have slightly curved flowers, usually with the styles uncinate at their
tips. In D. hortiorum, the corolla is more strongly zygomorphic than in other species, with the robust
style emerging excentrically from the erect, fleshy petals and sigmoidally curved in such a way that all
styles are presented in the centre of the inflorescence and are erect and not uncinate. This morphology
is not seen in any other known species. The large, connate, bracteoles also appear to be unique.
In all populations there is a mix of red-flowered (with the petals distally suffused with crimson)
and yellow-flowered (with the petals not suffused and hence pale yellow) individuals. There is no
apparent colour change in the flowers after anthesis. The flowers have a pollen-presentation system,
with a mix of pollen grains and oil deposited on the substigmatic brush of hairs as the style elongates
I would like to acknowledge Fred and Jean Hort for their diligence and expertise in surveying the
flora of the Darling Range for new and noteworthy species. They brought this species to my attention,
showed it to me in the field and collected excellent specimens from all known populations. Ryonen
Butcher assisted during field work, Paul Wilson kindly translated the Latin diagnosis, and Mike Hislop
and an anonymous reviewer provided invaluable comments on the manuscript.
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2008). Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia
(IBRA), Version 6.1. http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/nrs/science/bioregion-framework/ibra/index.html [accessed
8 May 2008]
Keighery, G.J. (2009). Six new and rare species of Darwinia (Myrtaceae) from Western Australia. Nuytsia 19(1): 37–52.
Marchant, N.G. (1984). A new species of Darwinia (Myrtaceae) from the Perth region, Western Australia. Nuytsia 5(1):
Marchant, N.G. & Keighery, G.J. (1980). A new species and a new combination in Darwinia (Myrtaceae) from Western
Rye, B.L. (1983). Darwinia capitellata (Myrtaceae), a new species from south-western Australia. Nuytsia 4(3): 423–426.
Keighery, G.J. & Marchant, N.G. (2002). A new species of Darwinia (Myrtaceae) from Western Australia. Nordic Journal of
Botany 22: 45-47.
Smith, M.G. (2010). Declared Rare and Priority Flora List for Western Australia. (Department of Environment and Conservation:
Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). Florabase – The Western Australian flora. Department of Environment and Conservation.