James Backhouse, naturalist and Quaker missionary, came to the Moreton Bay district in the 1830s with a well developed interest in the Australian flora. A caring man, he devoted his time to working amongst convicts and aborigines. This association with the aboriginal people gave him the opportunity to observe and record their use of local plant species. During his time in Australia, his extensive collection of botanical specimens and recorded observations earned him the distinction of having a genus of the Myrtaceae family named in his honour.
The small genus of Backhousia includes seven species, all endemic to Australia. They are bushy plants which produce large clusters of white flowers. Most species have pleasantly aromatic foliage, two of which are preeminent for their outstanding qualities as essential oils and culinary herbs. These two species are the Lemon-scented Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) and Aniseed Myrtle (Syzygium anisatum, previously Backhousia anisata).
Another two species worth a mention are Cinnamon Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia) which is occasionally called Carol and the Curry Myrtle (Backhousia angustifolia); both of which are also worthy of a bit of experimentation in the kitchen.