Leptospermum taxonomy has created its challenges across Australia during the many efforts to commercialise these species for honey production. Not all species produce the sought-after dihydroxyacetone (DHA) in their nectar that during the honey maturation process, forms methyl glyoxal (MGO), so understanding what species occur within a region, their relationships with other species and potential to hybridise, is important.
Working from the DNA angle, it is no surprise field workers were confused. Recommendations are to either make a super-large genus that combines a number of closely related genera or to split Leptospermum into five genera. This decision is in the hands of the taxonomists but for those in the plant improvement game and meeting the challenge of planting honeybee gardens, understanding why certain species refuse to hybridise with others, is a major step forward.
Binks, R.M., Heslewood, M., Wilson, P.G. and Byrne, M. (2022), Phylogenomic analysis confirms polyphyly of Leptospermum and delineates five major clades that warrant generic recognition. TAXON. https://doi.org/10.1002/tax.12650