Callistemon rigidus

Stiff Bottlebrush

Family: Myrtaceae

It grows to 3 m high by 2 m wide and is typically found in damp places such as sandy swamps and sandstone creeklines. It is widespread on the coast, ranges and extends into the western slopes, but is found mainly in the Sydney district.

Leaves are narrow and linear to 7 cm long, and only 4 mm wide and very rigid.

Inflorescences are spikes to 10 cm long and to 6 cm diameter, appearing in summer.

Staminal filaments to 30 mm long, vivid red in colour; anthers dark.

Capsules are produced after fertilisation on the spike. Capsules are 7 mm in diameter and produced in substantial numbers.

In the garden

Very hardy and will withstand poorly drained situations.

Flowers are attractive to birds and insects.

The plant responds to annual fertilising after flowering and may be pruned severely if necessary. Prune two-thirds off spent flower to encourage prolific growth and reduce woody stems.


Propagation is easy from both seed and cuttings.

Other information

It regenerates from seed as well as epicormic shoots and basal shoots after fire.

Callistemon – from the combination of 2 Greek words of ‘kallis’ meaning beauty and ‘stemon’ meaning stamen, referring to the conspicuous staminate flowers of the plant.
rigidus – Latin for ‘rigid’ referring to the stiff linear leaves.

Not considered at risk in the wild.

(This species is regarded as a synonym of Melaleuca linearis. Note that Callistemon linearis, C. pinifolius and C. rigidus are all synonyms of Melaleuca linearis. There is ongoing controversy about whether all Callistemon species should be absorbed into the Melaleuca genus).


By Jeff Howes