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Calothamnus quadrifidus fg01.JPG
Calothamnus quadrifidus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Tribe: Melaleuceae
Genus: Calothamnus
  • Billottia Colla
  • Baudinia Lesch. ex DC.

Calothamnus is a genus of shrubs in the family Myrtaceae and is endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. The common names one-sided bottlebrush or claw flower are given to some species due to their having the flowers clustered on one side of the stem or because of the claw-like appearance of their flowers. Calothamnus species are generally medium to tall woody shrubs with crowded leaves. In most species the leaves are crowded and linear in shape, and the flowers are usually arranged in dense clusters. The petals are small and fall off the flower soon after it opens but the stamens are long, numerous and usually bright red.


Plants in the genus Calothamnus are medium to tall shrubs, sometimes low-growing ground covers. The leaves are linear or narrow lance-shaped with the narrower end towards the base, usually glabrous and have distinct oil glands. The flowers are in small groups or dense spikes on leafless, older stems or between the leaves on younger ones. The sepals are fused to form a bell-shaped cup which is often immersed in the branch and there are four or five petals which usually fall off after the flower has opened. There are many stamens, joined for a large proportion of their length into four or five "claws". In some species the upper two claws are fused together and the lower ones are shorter. The stamens are brightly coloured, crimson to a deep purple or rarely yellow. The fruit is a woody capsule.[2][3][4]

Calothamnus graniticus subsp. graniticus
Calothamnus pinifolius

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

The first species in the genus to be described was Calothamnus sanguineus. It was first formally described in 1806 by the French biologist Jacques Labillardière in Novae Hollandiae Plantarum Specimen, Volume 2.[5][6] The name Calothamnus is derived from the Greek words kalos meaning "beautiful"[7]:131 and thamnos meaning "a shrub" or "a bush".[7]:174[8]

In 2014, Lyndley Craven and others proposed, mainly on the basis of DNA evidence, that species in the genus Calothamnus, along with those in Beaufortia, Conothamnus, Eremaea, Lamarchea, Petraeomyrtus, Phymatocarpus and Regelia be transferred to Melaleuca.[9]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

All Calothamnus species are found in the south west botanical province of Western Australia. Some (such as Calothamnus aridus) are adapted to a dry environment whilst others (such as Calothamnus hirsutus) are often found near swamps.[2]

Use in horticulture[edit]

Most species of Calothamnus have been grown in gardens but need full sun and good drainage. Propagation is usually from seeds which are retained in the hard fruits throughout the life of the plant but cuttings can be used to retain the colour of yellow forms.[10]

Species list[edit]

The following is a list of species recognised by the Western Australian Herbarium:[3][11]


  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ a b Hawkeswood, Trevor J. (1984). "Nine new species of Calothamnus Labill. (Myrtaceae: Leptospermoideae) from Western Australia" (PDF). Nuytsia. 5 (1): 123–124. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Calothamnus Labill.". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.
  4. ^ Corrick, Margaret G.; Fuhrer, Bruce A. (2009). Wildflowers of southern Western Australia (3rd ed.). Kenthurst, N.S.W.: Rosenberg Publishing P/L. p. 114. ISBN 9781877058844.
  5. ^ "Calothamnus sangineus". APNI. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  6. ^ La Billardière, Jacques-Julien Houtou de (1806). Novae Hollandiae plantarum specimen Volume 2. Paris. pp. 25–26. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  7. ^ a b Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  8. ^ Booth, Carol. "Calothamnus quadrifidus". Australian National Botanic Garden. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  9. ^ Craven, Lyn A.; Edwards, Robert D.; Cowley, Kirsten J. (30 June 2014). "New combinations and names in Melaleuca (Myrtaceae)". Taxon. 63 (3): 663–670. doi:10.12705/633.38.
  10. ^ Wrigley, John W.; Fagg, Murray (1983). Australian native plants : a manual for their propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping (2nd ed.). Sydney: Collins. pp. 194–195. ISBN 0002165759.
  11. ^ "Calothamnus". Western Australian Herbarium. Retrieved 25 July 2015.