Callistemon

Callistemon species

Synonyms -

Family: Myrtaceae

Names:

Summary:

Small trees or shrubs with alternate leaves and red or yellow "bottle brush" flowers.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Stipules - None or tiny.
Petiole - short.
Blade - Small, simple, dotted with oil glands, smooth edges, often leathery and long and slender.

Stems:

Will coppice when damaged.

Flower head:

Dense oblong or cylindrical spike with the axis growing out before flowering is complete. Resembles a bottle brush.

Flowers:

Usually red or yellow, 20-30 mm long. Radially symmetrical. Stalkless or immersed in the woody axis. Floral tube is usually cup shaped.
Ovary - Inferior or almost so.3-4 celled. Hairy at the top with a slight depression around the style. Many ovules per cell
Style - Simple, terminal, threadlike.
Stigma - Small, head like.
Sepals - Connected to the floral tube. 5 free. Rather dry and membranous. Smaller than petals. Fall of as the fruit ripens.
Petals - 5, spreading, free, overlapping and almost circular.
Stamens - Many free or joined near the base, much longer than the petals. In more than 1 row.
Anthers - Versatile, 2 parallel cells with lengthwise slit.

Fruit:

Dry, woody capsule. Seed released through slits at the top (midway between partitions) when ripe. 3-4 valves.

Seeds:

Tiny, many.

Roots:

Taproot with many laterals.

Key Characters:

Trees or shrubs
Leaves with aromatic oils.
Inflorescence sub terminal, cylindrical.
Flowers in spikes of which axis later elongates in a leafy shoot.
Flowers red or yellow, actinomorphic (radially symmetrical)
Floral tube well developed.
Sepals free and connected to the floral tube.
5 Petals free.
Ovary inferior or half inferior.
Stamens in more than 1 row, not in bundles, longer than and opposite petals.
Anthers not erect, versatile.
Fruit dehiscent, 3-4 valved.
Adapted from Nancy Burbidge and B.L. Rye.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Perennial.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.

Flowering times:

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

Stem will coppice when damaged.

Hybrids:

None.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed.

Origin and History:

Most species are native to the eastern states.

Distribution:

ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA.

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Ornamental, honey, gums, shelter.

Detrimental:

Little forage value.

Toxicity:

Not recorded as toxic.

Legislation:

The Wildlife Conservation Act prohibits removal of native plants from the wild in their native range on government land.

Management and Control:

Manual removal is usually effective.

Thresholds:

Eradication strategies:

Burning followed by bull dosing or chaining is usually the most cost effective for large stands.
Individual trees can be sawn off close to ground level and the stump painted immediately with Access. Basal bark spraying with Access® in diesel is effective. Saplings can be sprayed overall with Garlon, Grazon or glyphosate.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Unlikely because it is an Australian native species.

Related plants:

Alpine Bottlebrush (Callistemon sieberi)
Crimson Bottlebrush (Callistemon citrinus) - Weedy
Lemon Bottlebrush (Callistemon pallidus)
Lesser Bottlebrush (Callistemon phoeniceus)
Prickly or Mallee Bottlebrush (Callistemon brachyandrus)
Swamp Bottlebrush (Callistemon paludosus)
Callistemon rigidus - Weedy.
Agonis spp.
Beaufortia spp.
Callistemon spp.
Calytrix spp.
Chamelaucium spp.
Darwinia spp.
Eucalyptus spp.
Kunzea spp.
Leptospermum spp.
Melaleuca spp.
Verticordia spp.

Plants of similar appearance:

Beaufortia spp has opposite rather than alternate leaves.

References:

Auld, B.A. and Medd R.W. (1992). Weeds. An illustrated botanical guide to the weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia).

Bodkin, F. (1986). Encyclopaedia Botanica. (Angus and Robertson, Australia).

Burbidge, N.T. and Gray, M. (1970). Flora of the Australian Capital Territory. (Australian National University Press, Canberra). P268. Diagram.

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P516. Photograph.

Everist, S.L. (1974). Poisonous Plants of Australia. (Angus and Robertson, Sydney).

Lamp, C. and Collet, F. (1990). A Field Guide to Weeds in Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Lazarides, M. and Cowley, K. and Hohnen, P. (1997). CSIRO handbook of Australian Weeds. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #177.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P386-387.

Parsons, W.T. and Cuthbertson, E.G. (1992) Noxious weeds of Australia. (Inkata Press, Melbourne).

Acknowledgments:

Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 or www.herbiguide.com.au for more information for more information.