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Victorian Christmas Bush

Prostanthera lasianthos
Lamiaceae
Victorian Christmas Bush
Common

This is the largest of the native Mint Bushes, often reaching the height of a small tree, about 5 m (sometimes up to 10 m), in the Robertson area. The soft, narrow, opposite leaves are dark-green above and much paler underneath. The tip of the leaf is a fine point and there are usually several small teeth along the edge. Leaves have a distinctive "Mint Bush smell" when crushed.

The white flowers are funnel-shaped, with spreading lower lobes and mauve spots in the throat of the flower. The bushes, covered with their sprays of white flowers, are very noticeable in December in the rainforest and other cool, moist places. After the petals have fallen, the sepals at the base of the flower remain, enclosing the very small seeds, and they gradually dry out as the fruit ripens.

The plant can be propagated from fresh or stored seed but it also strikes readily from cuttings. It is a worthwhile shrub or small tree to grow in a moist sheltered spot in the garden.

Distribution: Tas to Stanthorpe (Sth Qld).