Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants

Revision of Myrsine (Myrsinaceae) in Australia

Betsy R. Jackes
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School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia. Email:

Australian Systematic Botany 18(5) 399-438
Submitted: 13 July 2004  Accepted: 16 May 2005   Published: 27 October 2005


The genus Myrsine L., has been revised for Australia. The broader circumscription of the genus including Rapanea Aubl., has been followed. Twenty species are described, including twelve new species: Myrsine arenaria Jackes, M. angusta Jackes, M. elata Jackes, M. ireneae Jackes, M. kimberleyensis Jackes, M. maculata Jackes, M. oreophila Jackes, M. pedicellata Jackes, M. richmondensis Jackes, M. rubiginosa Jackes, M. serpenticola Jackes, M. smithii Jackes. One new combination is made, Myrsine howittiana (F. Muell. ex Mez) Jackes. Four species M. howittiana (F. Muell. ex Mez) Jackes, M. porosa F. Muell., M. variabilis R.Br., and M. subsessilis F. Muell., are lectotypified. New subspecies described are M. ireneae subsp. curvata and M. subsessilis subsp. cryptostemon. All appropriate combinations have been made for Australian mainland species as well as for species occurring on Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands. A key to the species is provided. The main character states are discussed, particularly the nature of the trichomes, the glands or secretory structures, and aspects of the inflorescence and the flowers.


This study was supported by an ABRS grant, and James Cook University Research grants. The directors of the following herbaria; A, BM, BRI, CANB, DNA, K, L, MEL, MO, NSW, PERTH, QRS, either sent specimens on loan and / or permitted access to their collections. To the Latin scholars, P. Bostock, D. Gallagher and J. Pipoly, I couldn’t have done this without you. To Adella Edwards for producing the maps and some of the scans and Rebel Elick for scanning QRS specimens. To the ABLO (the late D. Foreman) at Kew who patiently answered my questions and arranged for photographs to be taken and to C. Alexander who ably assisted with the scanning electron microscope, thank you. I thank the anonymous referees for their constructive suggestions for improvements to this paper. I am indebted to all those who assisted with collecting material and / or provided ecological details, particularly I. Champion (Mackay, Rockhampton districts), S. Horton (M. richmondensis), G. Holmes (M. richmondensis) and S. Worboys who climbed around the ranges in the Cairns region to get fresh material. To my husband Mick Jackes who accompanied me on many field trips and at times risked life and limb to get what I wanted, a big thank you.


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