Callistemon flavovirens

Green Bottlebrush

Family: Myrtaceae

A spreading shrub that can reach a height of 2 metres with a similar spread.

Callistemon flavovirens is a rare species restricted to the granite country of south east Queensland and the Northern Tablelands of NSW, growing nothwards from Glen Innes-area through Tenterfield and near Torington through Jennings towards Stanthorpe in Queensland. It also occurs between Warwick and Rathdowney.

The new growth is soft and has a silvery appearance.

Callistemon spp. have simple and alternate to spiral leaves. In this species, leaves are dark green, narrow elliptical, up to 8 centimetres long and widely spaced along the branches.

In Callistemon species, flowers are usually arranged in spikes (the “bottlebrush”) which are produced at the terminals but which the stem then grows past, into a leafy shoot. Flowers have five small circular sepals and five circular petals which persist on the flowers. Like many other Myrtaceae genera, the flowers are conspicuously staminate with each flower having many stamens surrounding one carpel. The stamens are typically free although may be fused at the basal parts (a generally useful identifying feature for the genus to distinguish it from Melaleuca). The pedicels of the flowers are very short. In this species, the greenish-yellow flower-spikes are about eight centimetres long. The individual flowers are also widely spaced giving the ‘brushes’ an open appearance. Spring and summer are the main flowering periods.

Capsules are to 5 mm diameter, arranged in the same spike-like structure along branches.

In the garden

Author’s notes: Our specimens are growing in our typical well drained situations and they have proved to be drought resistant, tolerant of frosts and free flowering. Our specimens also flower sporadically at other times. Honeyeaters are frequent visitors to the blooms.

Callistemon flavovirens will also accept moist situations.

As with all bottlebrushes, pruning is essential. As the flowers fade we cut off each stem behind the brush. This keeps plants dense and blooming bounteously. Will benefit from some additional watering in hot and dry times.


Callistemon flavovirens may be propagated from seed or cuttings. We propagate all our bottlebrushes, this species included, from cuttings.

Other information

The genus Callistemon has been subject to recent taxonomic revision with early and recent botanists including Ferdinand von Mueller and Lyndley Craven (deceased in 2014) proposing to ‘lump’ the genus into Melaleuca and others. Craven et al. (2014) published new species combinations which included the renaming of all Callistemon species to Melaleuca, based on evolutionary relationships and DNA evidence and other features.

Currently, the NSW Herbarium advises that the Callistemon genus can still be used. There are currently about 30 species of Callistemon, which are found in all states of Australia as well as New Caledonia. About 28 are endemic to Australia. NSW currently recognises 24 species. New species have been described in the last 20 years.

Regenerates after fire from epicormic and basal shoots as well as from the seedbank.

Callistemon – From the Ancient Greek – Callos (κάλλος) – meaning “beautiful” (which is changed to κάλλη to describe a noun) and and stêma (στῆμα) meaning “stamen”, referring to the very showy staminate flowers of the bottle-brush inflorescences.

flavovirens – Latin meaning “yellow-green” – referring to the colour of the inflorescences.

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild but is considered rare in NSW.

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Callistemon flavovirens profile page        https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Callistemon~flavovirens

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

Australian Botanic Gardens – Callistemon flavovirens profile page https://www.australianbotanicgarden.com.au/plants/flowering-calendar/callistemon-flavovirens?m=11

By Warren and Gloria Sheather. Editing and additional text by Dan Clarke