Plectranthus 'Mt. Carbine'
Common name: Lemon leaf
The genus Plectranthus is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is closely related to Solenostemon (Coleus). Plants in these genera are grown more for their foliage than for their flowers. The foliage takes centre stage, and gives colour and texture to the garden. These plants are native to areas in Africa, Asia, and Australia.
The genus name Plectranthus is derived from Latin. 'plectron' means spur, and 'anthos' means flower.
Plectranthus 'Mt. Carbine', or lemon leaf, was discovered in the Mt. Carbine area of Queensland in northern Australia. It has velvety, apple green leaves, and a fruity lemon scent. All parts of the plant are covered with fluffy scented hairs.
P. 'Mt. Carbine' leaves are edible. They can also be infused to make tea. The flowers which are bluish-green and also edible, can be added to salads.
P. 'Mt. Carbine' enjoys full sun or part shade, and an evenly moist soil. It is relatively easy to propagate from cuttings.
Plectranthus 'Mt. Carbine' can be found in Bed 58C among the many plants belonging to the Australia and New Zealand Collection. Six plants were planted in 2021.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe