Melaleuca paludicola

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Melaleuca paludicola
Callistemon sieberi.jpg
Melaleuca paludicola in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Melaleuca
Species: M. paludicola
Binomial name
Melaleuca paludicola

Callistemon paludosus F.Muell.

Callistemon sieberi DC.

Melaleuca paludicola, commonly known as river bottlebrush, is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is endemic to eastern Australia. (Some Australian state herbaria continue to use the names Callistemon sieberi or Callistemon paludosus.)[1] It is a shrub or small tree with flexible, often drooping branches, pinkish new growth and spikes of cream, pale yellow, or sometimes pink flowers in summer.


Melaleuca paludicola is a shrub or tree growing to 8 metres (30 ft) tall, with fibrous bark, or hard, fissured bark on older plants. Its leaves are arranged alternately and are 20–68 millimetres (0.8–3 in) long, 1.3–8 millimetres (0.05–0.3 in) wide, flat, linear to narrow lance-shaped and have a small point at the end. There is a distinct mid-vein and 11-18 indistinct side veins.[2][3][4]

The flowers are a shade of cream to yellow, occasionally pink and are arranged in spikes on the ends of branches which continue to grow after flowering and also on the sides of the branches. The spikes are 20–30 millimetres (0.8–1 in) in diameter with 10 to 40 individual flowers. The petals are 2.6–4.2 millimetres (0.1–0.2 in) long and fall off as the flower ages and there are 48-67 stamens in each flower. Flowering occurs mainly from October to January and is followed by fruits which are woody, cup-shaped capsules, 3–4.3 millimetres (0.1–0.2 in) long.[2][3][4]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

Melaleuca paludicola was first formally described in 2006 by Lyndley Craven in Novon.[5][6] The specific epithet (paludicola) is from the Latin word palus meaning “swamp”[7] and the suffix -cola meaning “inhabitant”.[8] An earlier name for the species was Callistemon paludosus and the present name was chosen to link with the earlier one. The name Melaleuca sieberi refers to a species found in coastal Queensland.[2]

Callistemon sieberi was first formally described by botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle in 1828 in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis.[9][10]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Melaleuca paludicola occurs from Warwick in the far south east of Queensland, through New South Wales as far inland as the eastern part of the North West Plains to the eastern half of Victoria. There is a disjunct population in the Mount Lofty Ranges and Adelaide districts of South Australia.[2][3] It grows in near rivers, in dry, rocky riverbeds and in flood channels subject to periodic inundation.[2][4]

Use in horticulture[edit]

Melaleuca paludicola is sometimes cultivated as Callistemon sieberi. An alpine form is smaller, denser, rounded shrub suitable as a more formal plant.[11]


  1. ^ Udovicic, Frank; Spencer, Roger (2012). "New combinations in Callistemon (Myrtaceae)" (PDF). Muelleria 30 (1): 23–25. Retrieved 11 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brophy, Joseph J.; Craven, Lyndley A.; Doran, John C. (2013). Melaleucas : their botany, essential oils and uses. Canberra: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. p. 267. ISBN 9781922137517. 
  3. ^ a b c Spencer, Roger; Lumley, Peter F. "Callistemon sieberi". Royal Botanic Garden Sydney: Plantnet. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c "Callistemon sieberi" (PDF). Corangamite Seed Supply and Revegetation Network. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Melaleuca paludicola". APNI. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  6. ^ Craven, Lyn A. (2006). "New Combinations in Melaleuca for Australian Species of Callistemon (Myrtaceae)". Novon 16 (4): 472. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "palus". Wiktionary. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "-cola". Wiktionary. Retrieved 15 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Callistemon sieberi". APNI. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  10. ^ de Candolle, Augustin Pyramus (1828). Prodromus Systematis Naturalis, Volume 3Regni Vegetabilis. Paris. p. 223. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  11. ^ Wrigley, John W.; Fagg, Murray (1983). Australian native plants : a manual for their propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping (2nd ed.). Sydney: Collins. p. 193. ISBN 0002165759.