|White feather honeymyrtle|
|Melaleuca decora leaves and flowers|
|Metrosideros decora Salisb.|
Melaleuca decora, commonly known as the white feather honeymyrtle, is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is native to eastern Australia. It is a small paperbark tree with lance-shaped leaves and is covered with sweet-smelling, creamy-coloured flowers in summer.
Melaleuca decora has brown or whitish papery bark and grows to the height of a small tree, usually to 10 m (30 ft) but exceptional specimens may exceed 20 m (70 ft) in height. The leaves are arranged alternately, 7.8–16.5 mm (0.3–0.6 in) long, 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in) wide, flat, narrow elliptic in shape and tapering to a point.
The flowers are cream-coloured or white, arranged in spikes on the ends of branches which continue to grow after flowering, sometimes on the sides of the branches. The spikes are up to 17 mm (0.7 in) in diameter, 20–50 mm (0.8–2 in) long and have between 3 and 30 groups of flowers, usually in threes. The petals are roughly egg-shaped 2–2.5 mm (0.08–0.1 in) long and fall off as the flower ages. The stamens are arranged in five bundles around the flowers with 20 to 40 stamens in each bundle. The main flowering season is from November to January and is followed by fruit which are woody capsules 2–3 mm (0.08–0.1 in) long, well spaced along the stems.
Taxonomy and naming
This species was first formally described in 1796 by Richard Anthony Salisbury who named it Metrosideros decora. The reason he chose the specific epithet (decora) was not explained, but it is a Latin word meaning "fitting", "proper" or "beautiful". In 1916, James Britten moved it to the genus Melaleuca as Melaleuca decora.
Distribution and haitat
Melaleuca decora occurs in Queensland south from the Burnett River district and in New South Wales north from the Shoalhaven River growing in sand and heavy soils in open forest and swamps in coastal districts.
Use in horticulture
Melaleuca decora is a hardy plant which can be grown in a range of soil types, but needs plenty of water and will tolerate poorly drained sites. It is a useful screening plant and flowers profusely.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Melaleuca decora.|
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- "Melaleuca decora". APNI. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
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