Callistemon pityoides

Alpine Bottlebrush

Family: Myrtaceae

Callistemon pityoides  is regarded as a synonym of Melaleuca pityoides

It grows naturally to 3 m high and 2 m wide at altitudes from above 2000 m down to around 900 m. It is found commonly in and around sphagnum bogs and swamps and along watercourses in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, mainly on the coast and tablelands, often on granite or peat.

The leaves are narrow and sharply pointed, to abut 3 cm in length and less than 3 mm wide. The under-surface usually has scattered oil glands and silky hairs Younger leaves are entirely covered on both sides with dense silky hairs

The creamy-yellow flowers are produced on a dense terminal spike about 4 cm long, out of which grows a leafy shoot as flowering comes to an end.

Very small seed is produced in small globular woody capsules about 5 mm in diameter.

In the garden

Will grow well in gardens even with less moisture than its natural habitat and is an excellent species for cultivation in cold climates.

The plant responds to annual fertilising after flowering and may be pruned severely if necessary. Prune 2/3rds off spent flower to encourage prolific growth and reduce woody stems.


Propagation is easy from both seed and cuttings.

Other information

Formerly known as C. sieberi.

(This species is regarded as a synonym of Melaleuca pityoides. Note that there is ongoing controversy about whether all Callistemon species should be absorbed into the Melaleuca genus).

Regenerates from seed and from epicormic shoots after fire.

Callistemon…from the combination of 2 Greek words of ‘callis’ meaning beauty and ‘stemon’ meaning stamen, referring to the flowers of the plant.
pityoides – from Greek pitys, pine and oides, like; referring to the pine-like leaves.
Not considered to be at risk in the wild.



By Jeff Howes