Callistemon sieberi

River Bottlebrush

Family: Myrtaceae

Callistemon sieberi is a shrub or tree growing to 8 m tall, with fibrous bark, or hard, fissured bark on older plants.

It is naturally widespread along watercourses, dried and rocky riverbeds and gullies on the coast, tablelands and western slopes and plains of NSW.

It occurs from Warwick in the far south east of Queensland, through New South Wales as far inland as the eastern part of the North West Plains to the eastern half of Victoria.

Its leaves are arranged alternately and are about 7 cm long, up to just less than 1 cm wide, linear to narrow lanceolate and have a small point at the end.

The flowers are a shade of cream to yellow, occasionally pink, in spikes on the ends and sides of branches which continue to grow after flowering and also on the sides of the branches. The spikes are to 5 cm long and 3 cm wide in with up 40 individual flowers.

Flowering occurs mainly from October to January and is followed by fruit which are woody, cup-shaped capsules to 4 mm long.

In the garden

Attractive to birds and insects.

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.

Is a hardy plant that can be used as a hedge.


Propagation is easy from both seed and cuttings

Other information

Can regenerate from seed as well as reshooting stem buds 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.
sieberi…is named for Franz Sieber (1789-1844), a botanist who collected plants in Sydney in 1823.

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

By Jeff Howes