Melaleuca bracteata (MYRTACEAE) Black Tea-tree

Plants to Plant

Shrub or small tree to 15 m with hard, fissured bark, fine narrow leaves and white or cream flowers in cylindrical spikes in summer. Widespread, along watercourses or on heavier inland soils in depressions; north from the Macleay River, NSW. Hardy in light to heavy moist or dry soils. Popular shade or shelter plant even in wet locations. Leaves alternate, narrow-ovate to ovate (egg-shaped), 10-28 mm long, 1.5-3 mm wide, 5-11-veined, apex acute to acuminate, glabrous (hairless) or occasionally pubescent; sessile (attached without petiole). Inflorescences (flowering parts) few- to many-flowered spikes 1.5 – 3.5 cm long; rachis pubescent (the stem of the spike is hairy). White flowers solitary or in threes within each bract. Petals more or less circular, 1.5-2 mm long. Fruit sub-globose or nearly globose, 2-3 mm in diameter, orifice around 2 mm in diameter, with sepals persistent. A sepal is one of the component parts of the calyx, when this consists of separate (not fused) parts. The calyx is a collective term for the sepals of a flower, that is, the outermost whorl of flower parts, when this is not the same in appearance as the next such whorl (the corolla). While this plant is native to the Enoggera catchment, this specimen at the junction of Fish and Enoggera Creeks may have self sown from seed from nearby gardens.

Photo: Robert Whyte