Paperbarks and Honey Myrtles

Melaleuca is essentially Australian but a few species extend to South East Asia and New Caledonia. There are about 219 species and the genus includes many species that are now well-established as garden shrubs and many more with garden potential as they vary from small to large shrubs and trees which adapt easily to cultivation Some are tolerant of bad drainage and even saline conditions. There is a melaleuca to suit most gardens. Most species are spring and summer flowering but some bear flowers for the greater part of the year. All are bird attracting, particularly those with red flowers.

MELALEUCA SQUAMEA    Swamp Melaleuca
Melaleuca squamea

A shrub or small tree 1-3m high with stiff semi-erect branches. Leaves 4-8mm long, lanceolate, alternate and crowded, with long soft points and apex slightly curved towards stem. Flowers usually pink-purple; less commonly white or yellow, without stalks, in terminal clusters approximately 15mm across. Fruit, woody capsules persistent for several years. Flowering: October - February. Widespread in wet heaths, sea level to approximately 1500m.  Tas. Vic. NSW and SA.
Information courtesy Launceston Field Naturalists Club

MELALEUCA SQUARROSA                    Myrtaceae
Scented Paperbark

Melaleuca squarrosa
A common erect shrub. The young shoots are often pubescent; old trunks have fawn papery bark, the roots and lower stems often knotted forming a hard woody persistentbase (lignotuber) which survives fire, being buried in wet sandy soil, and gives rise to new upright shoots.
Flower head, a short pale yellow bottle-brush spike, to 4cm, having many sessile flowers with conspicuous stamens about 8mm long. The stiff leaves 5-15mm long are ovate, concave, slightly folded along the mid-rib, and pointed.
Flowering October-December. Heaths, wet scrub and along watercourses, especially in north and
east Tasmania.
Cultivation: may be cultivated from seed or cuttings. Suited to damp sites in the garden.
Tas, Vic, NSW, SA.

Information courtesy Launceston Field Naturalists Club

MELALEUCA GIBBOSA                      Myrtaceae
Small-leaved Melaleuca
Melaleuca gibbosa
Shrub 1-2 m, dense and bushy with numerous slender branches. Leaves pale to grey-green, small 2-6 mm long, opposite, overlapping in 4 rows, rather thick. Flowers mauve, sessile in small dense oblong spikes 1.5 cm long with conspicuous long stamens arranged in 5 groups opposite the petals. Fruits woody, sessile, in cylindrical spikes, the branches continue to grow so that old fruits encircle the stem. Seeds very fine, like short hairs.

Flowering sparsely throughout the year but main flowering in spring.   Habitat: wet heathlands, swamps and scrub from sea level to approximately 1500 m elevation.
Cultivation: good garden plant suitable as a low windbreak. Frost hardy. Prefers full to dappled sun and moist well-drained soil.  Propagate from seed or cuttings. Tas. Vic.  SA.

MELALEUCA ERICIFOLIA                    Myrtaceae
Swamp Paperbark

Melaleuca ericifolia
This is a large, bushy shrub to 4 m. in height and about 3 m across, but can be taller. Has a tendency to sucker. Linear leaves 1.5 cm.  White cylindrical flower spikes about 2.5 cm occurring mostly in
summer, in  north, west and eastern Tasmania as a dominant of forest and scrub in poorly
drained areas with moderately fertile soil.

Propagation by seed or cuttings. A fast growing, very hardy screen plant.
Tas, Vic, NSW

MELALEUCA PUSTULATA                Myrtaceae
Warty Paperbark

Melaleuca pustulata
A small, much branched, rounded shrub to 3 m; branching dense intricate. Leaves dark green, alternate, shortly stalked, 4-6 mm long, crowded, narrow elliptical, sub-erect; apex blunt but with a short terminal gland. Lower surfaces of older leaves with distinct, dark oil/gland pustules.
Flowers yellow, small, crowded together in terminal heads 1 cm dia., just below the apex of the current season's growth.  Fruit clusters of small capsules surrounding the stem.

Tas endemic.
Local on the east coast from about Swansea to Cherry Tree Hill, Lake Leake Road growing along watercourses, in open bushland - dry sclerophyll forests and often on dry hillsides. Also seen on Flinders Island.

Has been confused with Melaleuca armillaris 'bracelet honey-myrtle' - a south-eastern Victorian species having much longer flower spikes with stamens longer than the petals.

Listed as RARE under Schedule 5 of the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.

A number of Native Nursersies in Tasmania are growing this plant.  Sad that such an attractive plant has such an ugly name!