Melaleuca filifolia

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Wiry honey-myrtle
Melaleuca filifolia (leaves and flowers).JPG
Melaleuca filifolia leaves and flowers
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Melaleuca
Species: M. filifolia
Binomial name
Melaleuca filifolia

Melaleuca filifolia, commonly called wiry honey-myrtle is a plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae and is endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. It is a woody, twiggy shrub with needle-shaped leaves, greenish flower buds, pink "pom-pom" flower heads and spherical clusters of fruits.


Melaleuca filifolia is usually a small, spreading shrub to 2 m (7 ft) high, sometimes to 4 m (10 ft). The leaves are arranged alternately on the stem, are circular in cross-section,10–35 mm (0.4–1 in) long and 2–4 mm (0.08–0.2 in) wide.

The flowers are arranged in almost spherical heads up to 23 mm (0.9 in) in diameter. The heads are on the ends of branches which continue to grow after flowering, and often also in upper leaf axils. Each head contains 6 to 13 groups of flowers in threes. The petals are 1.7–2.5 mm (0.07–0.1 in) long and fall off as the flower opens. The stamens are purple, pink or mauve with golden tips and are arranged in five bundles around the flower, each bundle containing 7 to 11 stamens. Flowering occurs in late spring to summer and the fruit that follow are woody capsules in tight, almost spherical clusters up to 14 mm (0.6 in) in diameter appearing like miniature footballs.[1][2][3]

M. filifolia growing near Geraldton.
M. filifolia fruit

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

Melaleuca filifolia was first formally described in 1862 by Ferdinand Mueller in Fragmenta Phytographiae Australiae from a specimen found in the dry bed of the Murchison River by Augustus Oldfield.[4][5] The specific epithet (filifolia) is derived from the Latin words filum meaning "thread"[6]:797 and folium meaning "a leaf",[6]:466 referring to the narrow leaves.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This melaleuca occurs between the Kalbarri and Mullewa districts near Geraldton[1][2] in the Avon Wheatbelt, Geraldton Sandplains and Yalgoo biogeographic regions.[7] It grows in a range of soils and situations including sandy, gravelly and loamy soil over sandstone[2][7] in Kwongan or tall scrub.[3]


Melaleuca filifolia is listed as "not threatened" by the Government of Western Australia Department of Parks and Wildlife.[7]

Use in horticulture[edit]

Some forms of this species are grown in gardens.[3]


  1. ^ a b Holliday, Ivan (2004). Melaleucas : a field and garden guide (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Reed New Holland Publishers. pp. 110–111. ISBN 1876334983.
  2. ^ a b c d 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. 165. ISBN 9781922137517.
  3. ^ a b c Corrick, Margaret G.; Fuhrer, Bruce A. (2009). Wildflowers of southern Western Australia (3rd ed.). [Kenthurst, N.S.W.]: Rosenberg Pub. p. 131. ISBN 9781877058844. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Melaleuca filifolia". APNI. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  5. ^ Ferdinand, Mueller (1862). "Melaleuca filifolia". Fragmenta phytographiae Australiae. 3 (21): 119–120. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b Brown, Roland Wilbur (1956). The Composition of Scientific Words. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  7. ^ a b c "Melaleuca filifolia". FloraBase. Western Australian Government Department of Parks and Wildlife.