Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Melaleuca viminalis (Sol. ex Gaertn.) Byrnes

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © Australian Plant Image Index (APII). Photographer: M. Fagg.
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage, cotyledons still attached, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Byrnes, N.B. (1984) Austrobaileya 2(1): 75.

Common name

Weeping Bottlebrush; Creek Bottlebrush; Drooping Bottlebrush; Red Bottlebrush


Generally a gnarled, poorly formed tree or shrub. Dead bark layered.


Oil dots numerous and conspicuous, almost touching one another. Leaf blades about 25-138 x 3-27 mm.


Individual flowers sessile and arranged in fairly compact spikes about 7-8 cm long, with the staminal filaments projecting at right angles to the inflorescence so that the whole structure resembles a red bottle-brush. Petals about 4-6 mm long.


Seeds small, about 1-1.5 mm long. Cotyledons folded once and rolled lengthways.


Cotyledons obovate or elliptic, about 3 mm long, oil dots very sparse only just visible with a lens. At the tenth leaf stage: seedling glabrous, leaf blade linear or narrowly elliptic, apex acute, base attenuate; oil dots numerous, easily visible with a lens. Seed germination time 25 to 35 days.

Distribution and Ecology

Endemic to Australia, occurs in WA, CYP, NEQ, CEQ and southwards to central coastal New South Wales. Altitudinal range in CYP and NEQ from near sea level to 900 m. Grows as a rheophyte along creeks and rivers usually in open forest situations but sometimes on streams flowing through rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

This common 'bottle brush' is planted extensively in the tropics with several colour forms from red to pink with a white form now available.

Callistemon viminalis (Sol. ex Gaertner) G.Don ex Loudon, Hortus Britannicus : 197(1830). Metrosideros viminalis Sol. ex Gaertner, Fruct. et Semin. 1: 181(1788), Type: Endeavour River, D. Solander, K.
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