Melaleuca

Melaleuca species

Family: Myrtaceae

Names:

Summary:

Evergreen small trees or shrubs often called Paperbarks. They usually have leathery leaves.

Description:

Cotyledons:

Two.

First leaves:

Leaves:

Stipules - None or tiny.
Petiole -
Blade - Simple, dotted with oil glands, smooth edges, often leathery.

Stems:

Often with papery bark.

Flower head:

Usually a head or spike with the axis growing out during or after flowering.
1-3 flowers within each bract or floral leaf.
Bracts usually scale like, overlapping and fall of with age

Flowers:

Radially symmetrical. Stalkless. Floral tube is cup shaped.
Ovary - Inferior or almost so. 3 celled with few-many ovules per cell. Top is convex, almost always hairy, with a central depression around the style
Style - Simple, terminal, threadlike.
Stigma - Often very small.
Sepals - Connected to the floral tube. 5 free, small, usually fall off in fruit.
Petals - Usually 5, free and overlapping, short, clawed or narrowed at the base, broad near the top.
Stamens - 15 to many, longer than petals, joined in 5 bundles opposite the petals.
Anthers - Versatile, not erect, 2 parallel cells, release pollen through a lengthwise slit.

Fruit:

Dry, woody capsule with no stalk. 3 valved. Seed released through slits at the top (midway between partitions) when ripe.

Seeds:

Tiny, usually many.

Roots:

Taproot with many laterals.

Key Characters:

Trees or shrubs
Leaves with aromatic oils.
Flowers actinomorphic (radially symmetrical)
Floral tube well developed.
5 Sepals, free, connected to the floral tube.
4-6 Petals free.
Ovary inferior or half inferior.
Ovules few to many per cell.
Stamens in 5 bundles opposite the petals, longer than the petals
Anthers not erect, versatile.
Fruit dehiscent, 3 valved capsule.
Adapted from B.L. Rye.

Biology:

Life cycle:

Perennial.

Physiology:

Reproduction:

By seed.
May regrow from stump if damaged.

Flowering times:

Depends on the species.

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:

May regrow from stump.

Hybrids:

None.

Allelopathy:

Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Spread by seed. Many will coppice when the stem is cut.
They tend to hold their seed in the canopy.

Origin and History:

Mainly Australian natives.

Distribution:

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

Habitats:

Climate:

Temperate.

Soil:

Plant Associations:

Significance:

Beneficial:

Ornamental, gums, shelter, medicinal, fuel.

Detrimental:

Some species are weedy and invasive.

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. 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:

Bracelet Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris) - Weedy and naturalised in parts of Victoria and Western Australia.
Broom Honeymyrtle or Broombush (Melaleuca uncinata)
Chenille Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca huegelii)
Desert Paperbark (Melaleuca glomerata)
Graceful Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca radula)
Grey Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca incana)
Kangaroo Paperbark (Melaleuca halmaturorum)
Moonah (Melaleuca preissiana)
Pink Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca erubescens)
River Paperbark (Melaleuca trichostachya)
Robin Redbreast Bush (Melaleuca lateritia)
Rottnest Teatree (Melaleuca lanceolata) - Weedy and has escaped from plantings. Used for honey, pollen, fence posts, shelter belts and is salt tolerant.
Rough Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca scabra)
Saltwater Paperbark (Melaleuca cuticularis)
Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia) - Weedy and invasive.
Swamp Paperbark or Sandhill Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca adnata)
Tangling Melaleuca (Melaleuca cardiophylla)
Melaleuca decussata - Weedy.
Melaleuca diosmifolia - Weedy.
Melaleuca hypericifolia - Weedy, invasive in Victoria.
Melaleuca nesophila - Weedy and has escaped from plantings.
Melaleuca parvistaminea - Weedy.
Melaleuca pentagona - Weedy and has escaped from plantings.

Plants of similar appearance:

Agonis spp.
Beaufortia spp.
Callistemon spp.
Calytrix spp.
Chamelaucium spp.
Darwinia spp.
Eucalyptus spp.
Kunzea spp.
Leptospermum spp.
Verticordia spp.

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).

Cunningham, G.M., Mulham, W.E., Milthorpe, P.L. and Leigh, J.H. (1992). Plants of Western New South Wales. (Inkata Press, Melbourne). P514-515. Photographs.

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). #639.

Marchant et al (1987). Flora of the Perth Region. (Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia). P412-420. Diagrams.

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.