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Red bottle brush.jpg
Red bottlebrush flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Subfamily: Myrtoideae
Tribe: Melaleuceae
Genus: Callistemon

Callistemon /ˌkælɨˈstmən/[2] is a genus of shrubs in the family Myrtaceae, first described as a genus in 1814.[3] The entire genus is endemic to Australia but widely cultivated in many other regions and naturalized in scattered locations.[4]

Callistemon is sometimes considered a synonym of Melaleuca,[1] and four Callistemon species from New Caledonia were moved to that genus by Lyndley Craven and John Dawson in 1998. Callistemon species are commonly referred to as bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers resembling a traditional bottle brush. They are found in the more temperate regions of Australia, mostly along the east coast and south-west, and typically favour moist conditions so when planted in gardens thrive on regular watering. However, at least some of the species are drought-resistant. Several species are used in ornamental landscaping elsewhere in the world.

Bottlebrush seed capsules

Callistemons can be propagated either by cuttings (some species more easily than others), or from the seeds. Flowering is normally in spring and early summer (October–December), but conditions may cause flowering at other times of the year. The obvious parts of the flower masses are stamens, with the pollen at the tip of the filament; the petals are inconspicuous (see picture). Flower heads vary in colour with species; most are red, but some are yellow, green, orange or white. Each flower head produces a profusion of triple-celled seed capsules around a stem (see picture) which remain on the plant with the seeds enclosed until stimulated to open when the plant dies or fire causes the release of the seeds. A few species release the seeds annually.

They are relatively slow growing though in time the larger species can grow up to 15 m (49 ft). Some are ground-hugging, and grow to only 0.5 m (1.6 ft). The leaves are linear to lanceolate and they are not deciduous.

They have been grown in Europe since a specimen of C. citrinus was introduced to Kew Gardens in London by Joseph Banks in 1789.

In Australia, Callistemon species are sometimes used as food plants by the larvae of hepialid moths of the genus Aenetus including A. ligniveren. These burrow horizontally into the trunk then vertically down.

In India, bottlebrush plants/trees are grown in gardens. Their leaves have a lovely fragrance which gets released on crushing the leaves with hands.


One of the sources was the Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.[4]

Callistemon viminalis
  1. Callistemon acuminatus Cheel – Tapering-leaved Bottlebrush
  2. Callistemon brachyandrus Lindl. – Prickly Bottlebrush
  3. Callistemon chisholmii Cheel
  4. Callistemon citrinus (Curtis) Skeels – Crimson Bottlebrush
  5. Callistemon coccineus F.Muell.
  6. Callistemon comboynensis Cheel – Cliff Bottlebrush
  7. Callistemon flavovirens (Cheel) Cheel – Green Bottlebrush
  8. Callistemon formosus S.T.Blake
  9. Callistemon forresterae Molyneux
  10. Callistemon genofluvialis Molyneux
  11. Callistemon kenmorrisonii Molyneux – Betka Bottlebrush
  12. Callistemon lanceolatus (Sm.) Sweet
  13. Callistemon lazaridis (Craven) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  14. Callistemon linearifolius (Link) DC.
  15. Callistemon linearis Sweet
  16. Callistemon macropunctatus (Dum.Cours.) Court
  17. Callistemon megalongensis (Craven & S.M.Douglas) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  18. Callistemon montanus C.T.White ex S.T.Blake – Mountain Bottlebrush
  19. Callistemon montis-zamiae (Craven) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  20. Callistemon nyallingensis Molyneux
  21. Callistemon pachyphyllus Cheel – Wallum Bottlebrush
  22. Callistemon pallidus (Bonpl.) DC. – Lemon Bottlebrush
  23. Callistemon pauciflorus R.D.Spencer & Lumley
  24. Callistemon pearsonii R.D.Spencer & Lumley
  25. Callistemon phoeniceus Lindl. – Lesser Bottlebrush
  26. Callistemon pinifolius (Wendl.) Sweet – Pine-leaved Bottlebrush
  27. Callistemon pityoides F.Muell. – Alpine Bottlebrush
  28. Callistemon polandii F.M.Bailey
  29. Callistemon pungens Lumley & R.D.Spencer
  30. Callistemon pyramidalis (Craven) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  31. Callistemon quercinus (Craven) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  32. Callistemon recurvus R.D.Spencer & Lumley
  33. Callistemon rigidus R.Br. – Stiff Bottlebrush
  34. Callistemon rugulosus (Schltdl. ex Link) DC. – Scarlet Bottlebrush
  35. Callistemon sabrina (Craven) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  36. Callistemon salignus (Sm.) Sweet – Willow Bottlebrush, White Bottlebrush
  37. Callistemon serpentinus (Craven) Udovicic & R.D.Spencer
  38. Callistemon shiressii Blakely
  39. Callistemon sieberi DC.
  40. Callistemon speciosus (Sims) Sweet
  41. Callistemon subulatus Cheel
  42. Callistemon teretifolius F.Muell. – Needle Bottlebrush, Flinders Ranges Bottlebrush
  43. Callistemon viminalis (Sol. ex Gaertn.) G.Don – Weeping Bottlebrush
  44. Callistemon viridiflorus (Sims) Sweet
  45. Callistemon wimmerensis Marriott & G.W.Carr

Formerly placed here[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Genus: Callistemon R. Br.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ Brown, Robert. 1814. Voyage to Terra Australis 2(App. 3): 547
  4. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  5. ^ "Callistemon brevisepalus". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  6. ^ "Callistemon buseanus". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  7. ^ "Callistemon suberosus". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  8. ^ "Callistemon pancheri". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 
  9. ^ "Callistemon gnidioides". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government. 

External links[edit]