Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Melaleuca dealbata S.T.Blake

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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Blake, S.T. (1968) Contributions from the Queensland Herbarium 1: 41. Type: Northern Territory, ca 12 deg 40 S., ca 131 deg 25 E., Blake 17000; holo: BRI 044839.

Common name

Soapy Tea Tree; Tea Tree; Cloudy Tea Tree; Honey Tree; Melaleuca, White Leaf; Paperbark; White Leaf Melaleuca


Bark pale. Dead bark layered.


Leaf blades long and narrow (narrowly elliptic), about 6-12 x 1.5-2.3 cm, with 3-5 longitudinal veins more prominent than the rest. Young shoots and twigs densely clothed in white or silver, erect hairs.


Inflorescences about 15-20 mm wide. Flowers usually in threes. Stamens less than 10 mm long, +/- fused in five bundles opposite the petals.


Capsules sessile, about 2-3 mm diam., densely clothed in short, silver, crispate hairs when young.


Cotyledons obovate, about 2-3 x 0.5 mm. First pair of leaves about 4 x 2 mm, with numerous small oil dots visible with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade glabrous, about 35-40 x 7-10 mm, narrowly elliptic or narrowly obovate, apex apiculate; oil dots numerous, sometimes visible to the naked eye. Seed germination time 13 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in WA, NT, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to south-eastern Queensland. Altitudinal range in northern Australia from sea level to 500 m. Grows in open forest, usually on ground which is periodically inundated but also found on rain forest margins. Also occurs in New Guinea.

Natural History & Notes

A large tree sometimes grown in wetter areas of parks or as a street tree. Unfortunately the flowers have a rather foetid smell.

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