Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Melaleuca recurva (R.D.Spencer & Lumley) Craven

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Leaves and Flowers. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Craven, L.A. (2006) Novon 16(4): 473.

Common name

Bottlebrush, Tinaroo; Tinaroo Bottlebrush


Can grow large enough to become a rather poorly formed small tree but usually flowers and fruits as a shrub 1-3 m tall.


Leaves rather short, about 16-35 x 5-6 mm, +/- crowded on sections of twigs while other sections of twigs are devoid of leaves or occupied by fruiting capsules. Oil dots conspicuous but the distance between oil dots rather variable, the distance being as little as the diameter of an oil dot to about 4-5 times the diameter of an oil dot. Leaf apex usually sharp and pungent pointed. Leaves aromatic when crushed. Venation very difficult to distinguish. Young leaves and twigs clothed in appressed white hairs.


Inflorescences about 3-5 x 3-4 cm, individual flowers sessile. Calyx lobes about 1 x 1.5 mm. Petals about 3-4 x 3 mm. Staminal filaments red, about 12-15 mm long, anthers yellow.


Fruits grouped together on sections of the twig, each capsule about 4-5 x 3-5 mm. Seeds small, about 1 mm long, dark brown, angular.


Cotyledons obovate, about 1.5-3 x 1.5-2 mm, oil dots sparse or nil, veins not visible. Hypocotyl glabrous. First pair of leaves opposite or subopposite, +/- obovate or narrowly obovate, about 3-5 x 2-3 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade narrowly elliptic, intramarginal vein well developed but very close to the edge of the leaf; oil dots somewhat sparse or at least not densely distributed. Younger leaves and stem clothed in long white hairs. Seed germination time 12 to 21 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Queensland, occurs in NEQ and CEQ. Altitudinal range from 400-1200 m. Usually grows in wet sclerophyll and open forest particularly on rock slabs and other rocky areas. Occasionally found on rain forest margins or rocky slabs surrounded by rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

A small, sometimes dense, shrub to small tree that is hardly ever without its red 'bottle brush' flowers. Becoming a common plant in horticulture.

Callistemon recurvus R.D.Spencer & Lumley, Muelleria 7(2): 255(1990), Type: Queensland, Mt Stewart east of Herberton. 17 2-S, 145 3-E, v.1977, R.Russel s.n.; holo: BRI 221832).
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