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  1. 194 Photo by Andrew Maltman
  2. 194_0 Photo by Neil Saunders
  3. 6295052911_74fc7eef4d_z Non flowering Tick Bush by Russell Dahms

Tick Bush

Kunzea ambigua


  • An evergreen shrub.
  • Size: up to 3.5 m high.
  • Leaves: narrow and linear in shape, they are about 1 cm long, 1 – 1.5 mm wide, and grow on short stalks.  They have slightly hairy surfaces.
  • Flowers: white and globular flower heads, they are honey-scented and grow directly from the stems. The petals are 1.5 – 2 mm long and are almost hidden by the 3 – 5 mm long stamens (“stems” protruding from the flower) which give the flower a fluffy appearance.
  • Fruit/seed: each small fruit is 2.5 – 3.5 mm long and 3 – 4 mm wide. When ripe, it bursts open to release numerous small seeds annually. 

What to Observe

  • First fully open single flower
  • Full flowering (record all days)
  • End of flowering (when 95% of the flowers have faded)
  • Open seed pods / fruits (record all days)

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

We expect plants to start shooting and flowering earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth. They may also start appearing in new areas, as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them. Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?".

When To Look

  • From spring through summer
  • Flowers appear from September to December
  • Fruits appear after flowers 

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout from August!

Where To Look

  • In heath, dry woodland, and open forest, usually on sandstone.
  • On the coast and adjacent ranges of eastern Australia, from central New South Wales (south from the Sydney Basin), south to eastern Victoria and Tasmania.
  • Look in heathland around Sydney, particularly on the coast.

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions!

Tick Bush Occurrence Map ALA



Morley BD & Toelken HR (eds) 1983. Flowering Plants of Australia. Rigby, Adelaide.

Walther G, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin J, Hoegh-Guldberg O, and Bairlein F 2002. Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416: 389–395.


  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    • Its flower distinguishes it from other similar species because the stamens are longer than the petals.
    • Tea Tree (Leptospermum): doesn’t have long stamens, hence a “fluffy” appearance to its flowers. 
  1. Did You Know?

    The genus to which it belongs, Kunzea, is only found in Australia.

    Its genus name Kunzea is named after Gustave Kunze, a German botanist and physician; and its species name ambigua is from the Latin ambiguous, meaning uncertain or doubtful, perhaps referring to its taxonomic status.

    It attracts numerous birds and solider beetles when in flower.