Other Names: West Australian Peppermint Tree, Willow Myrtle
Botanical Name: Agonis flexuosa
Plant Family: MYRTACEAE
Flowering Period: September to December
Native to: Western Australia, particularly southwest and southern coastal sandy soils.
This gracefully weeping tree was given the name ‘peppermint’ by early colonists because of the peppermint scent given off by crushed leaves. Its drooping habit has earned the tree its second common name ‘Willow Myrtle’. In late spring the tree is laden with thousands of tiny white, pink-centred flowers that weigh the already drooping branches to the ground. A widely cultivated ornamental species, it has proven very adaptable under a wide range of conditions in both temperate and tropical areas, growing well in most soil types. Best grown in full sun, this tree is drought tolerant and suitable for coastal planting.
Location in Zoo: Main picnic lawn, World of Birds, Australian Bushwalk, along most roadways, along much of the Zoo perimeter, generally throughout.
Use in the Zoo: Apart from its graceful ornamental effect, this tree is also used as fodder for Elephants and some Possums.
Aboriginal uses: included the leaves and gum used medicinally and ceremonially; mothers crushing the leaves by rubbing their palms together and placing their hot, peppermint scented hands on the chests of babies to ease chest and nasal congestion