LEMON MYRTLE (Lemon Ironwood) Backhousia citriodora
Description: A shrub or small tree from 4 to 8m, in the garden. In open situations the foliage is very dense right to the ground. Leaves are light green, paler & hairy beneath with slightly toothed margins, flowers are profuse, appearing in late Spring. It is quite hardy in most situations & reasonably frost tolerant but would benefit from a bit of protection during the establishment phase. A good screen plant & excellent windbreak. Plants for culinary use are usually cutting grown from clonal selections with a known citral oil content of around 95%. When crushed, leaves should have a distinctively pleasant lemon- lime scent.
Uses: Lemon Myrtle has become the most popular native food flavour. Leaves can be used either fresh or dried and the oil, when distilled, is used by the pharmaceutical, cosmetic & food industries. Tests have shown it has high antifungal & antibacterial properties & contains 4 to 7 times the antioxidants of Blueberries.