Callistemon shiressii

Family: Myrtaceae

Callistemon shiressii is an uncommon shrub or small tree, to 12 m tall, occurring in and between the Singleton and Richmond localities in NSW. It grows on shale ridges in moist eucalypt forest and rainforest as well as along riverbank.

The leaves are arranged alternately, to 7 cm long, and to 1 cm wide, and end in a sharp point.

The inflorescences (spikes) are cream or greenish-cream and are arranged at the end of branches. The spikes are 20 mm in diameter and to 50 mm long with 5 to 25 individual staminate flowers. Flowering occurs from September to January

Fruits are are woody capsules, to about 5 mm long and wide.

In the garden

Hardy, drought tolerant plant forming a neat compact shrub to tree size and grows over a wide range of soils. Flowers best in full sun.

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.

Flowers are attractive to birds and insects.


Propagation is easy from both seed and cuttings.

Other information

May regenerate from seed after fire. Most bottlebrushes exhibit reshooting from branch stem buds and basal areas of stems/trunks after fire or pruning.

Callistemon…from the combination of 2 Greek words of ‘kallis’ meaning beauty and ‘stemon’ meaning stamen, referring to the flowers of the plant.
shiressii… honours David William Campbell Shiress (1862-1944) who, with William Blakely, collected the type specimen.

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


By Jeff Howes