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Products > Melicytus dentatus
Melicytus dentatus - Tree Violet
Image of Melicytus dentatus
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Violaceae (Violets)
Origin: Australia (Australasia)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Pale Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Synonyms: [Hymenanthera dentata]
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 8-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20° F
Melicytus dentatus (Tree Violet) An evergreen dense growing shrub or small tree to 15-20 feet tall with small dark green narrow leaves that have slightly dentated margins. In spring appear the pale yellow small bell-shaped flowers that are strongly daphne-scented. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Tolerant of most soils, including alkaline, sandy or clay, so long as they are well-draining. Tolerant moderate frosts down to at least 18° F, though new young foliage might be nipped back. This is a very tough plant that can be used as a hedge, screen or trained up as a small tree and then it is compared in appearance to a small olive. The spring flowers can perfume a garden and are so strong that some caution putting it too close to living areas. Grows native in open forests and woodlands in southeastern Queensland, eastern New South Wales south to northeastern and southwestern Victoria. The name for the genus roughly translates to “honey basket from the Greek words 'meli' meaning "honey" and 'kytos' meaning a "container" or a "jar" in reference to the tiny, nectar-filled flowers. This Australian plant has long been called Hymenanthera dentata and was described under this name in 1818. The etymology of this name is from the Greek word 'hymen' meaning a "membrane" and 'antheros' meaning "flowering" that in Latin lead to 'anthra' meaning an "anther" in reference to the membranous appendages of the anthers. Though not widely accepted early on, this species was merged In 1970 with the New Zealand species of Melicytus, whose type species was described in 1775, so this older genus name took priority. We first received this very interesting plant (as Hymenanthera dentata) in 2019 from Jo O'Connell of Australian Native Plant Nursery, who showed us her nice specimen small tree after we asked what that lovely smell was that perfumed her garden. Our plants are all cuttings from this small tree, but Jo also has a second specimen not trained up that screens her home from the nearby highway.  The information about Melicytus dentatus displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.