Katandra Bushland Sanctuary

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Lamiaceae - the Mint or Sage Family

Lamiaceae is a family of plants commonly known as the mint or sage family. World-wide there are about 7000 species, approximately 250 of which occur in Australia. Most are fragrant herbs or shrubs, many of which are well-known for their culinary (mint, rosemary, lavender, sage, lemon balm and marjoram and thyme) and medicinal (salvia, catnip, motherwort) uses. Teak (Tectona grandis), the tropical hardwood tree species that supplies durable and water-resistant timber for construction and furniture, is also a member of the Lamiaceae family. Most species have aromatic leaves due to the presence of volatile-oil producing glands. The flowers are usually strongly irregular, many with a shape described as labiate, having 5 petals varying in size, fused at their base forming a tube.

Katandra is home to two species of Lamiaceae - Prostanthera denticulata and Plectranthus parviflorus

Prostanthera denticulata

(Rough Mint Bush)

Known as Rough Mint Bush, Prostanthera denticulata is a diffuse, tangled shrub that grows to about 1.5m. While it occurs in scattered locations along the coast of NSW, it is considered locally uncommon. It does however, grow prolifically in Katandra.

Quite recent studies have shown that the coastal P. denticulata is distinct from those found elsewhere in NSW and Victoria, with some of these previously identified as P. denticulata now being designated as different species.

The leaves are 5-12cm long, opposite and sparsely spread along the stems. They have slightly recurved margins and are lined with a few obscure teeth (denticulata means finely toothed). The stems are covered with small, stiff hairs giving a slightly raspy feel. 

The purple flowers are about 10mm long and mainly appear in winter and spring. The petals are lobed, two lobes at the top and three lobes below, fused at the base forming a short tube.

Plectranthus parviflorus

(Cockspur Flower)

Plectranthus parviflorus, commonly known as Cockspur Flower, is a small perennial herbaceous shrub that grows to about 60cm.

It has fleshy red-brown stems with toothed leaves that are slightly succulent and covered with short, soft hair. It is a hardy species growing in a variety of conditions, often in sheltered gullies especially in rocky areas with shallow soils. It can be found right along the coast and ranges of Eastern Australia. It produces tiny sweetly scented bluish-purple flowers on long terminal spikes throughout much of the year. (parviflorus means small-flowered). The whole plant exudes a menthol fragrance.