A tall shrub to 4 m high by 3 m diameter. It grows in dry sclerophyll forest and woodlands on the NSW coast and adjacent ranges, chiefly north from Georges River, Sydney, to Nelson Bay, and occasionally further north in NSW to the Queensland border.
Leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, to 10 cm long and 7 mm wide, sometimes to 14 cm long and 12 mm wide.
Inflorescences are spikes, usually 10 cm long, by 5 cm wide. Staminal filaments red. Can be profuse in spring to summer.
Fruit is a capsules c. 7 mm diam.
Hardy and suited to most soil conditions – alluvial loams and clays.
The plant responds to annual fertilising after flowering and may be pruned severely if necessary. Many Callistemons can tolerate less than perfect drainage but usually perform best in gardens with reasonable drainage and regular availability of water.
Flowers best in full sun.
Handy hint, prune 2/3rds off spent flowers to encourage prolific growth/flowers and reduce woody stems.
Propagation is easy from seed.
Regenerates from seed bank after fire. Most bottlebrushes can reshoot from branches/stems and basal areas of trunks after fire or pruning.
Callistemon…from the combination of 2 Greek words of ‘callis’ meaning beauty and ‘stemon’ meaning stamen, referring to the flowers of the plant.
linearifolius… is from the Latin words linearis meaning “linear” and folius meaning “a leaf”, in reference to the shape of the leaves of this species
Callistemon linearifolius has been classified as “vulnerable” by the New South Wales Government
(This species is regarded as a synonym of Melaleuca linearifolia. Note that there is ongoing controversy about whether all Callistemon species should be absorbed into the Melaleuca genus).