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Melaleuca bracteata

Black Tea Tree

Family: Myrtaceae

Melaleuca bracteata, Black Tea Tree grows into a small tree.

The leaves are dark green, oval and scattered along the branches. Each leaf is equipped with a sharp point.

Flowers are white and carried in clusters on or near the ends of the branches. The flowering season extends from August to November.

The Black Tea Tree has a wide distribution and is found in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. In Central Australia it develops into a medium-sized shrub that grows amongst rocks.

The common name refers to the dark grey, fissured bark and the species name means bearing bracts and refers to the flower clusters.

In the garden

Melaleuca bracteata is usually found growing along watercourses and may dominate riparian vegetation. The Black Tea Tree will cope with dry, well drained situations as well as wet sites.

Melaleuca bracteata could be grown as a component of a native shrubbery or along the margins of dams and watercourses.

A number of cultivars are available including “Revolution Green” and Revolution Gold”. The names refer to the colour of the foliage. These are very popular cultivars and have been planted in large numbers in public landscapes and as street trees etc. 

They may be too large for an average suburban backyard but if room is provided, they can be nicely shaped, providing dense foliage and habitat values. 

Propagation

Propagate from seed and cuttings.

Other information

This species can likely regenerate from suckering and stem buds are fire. It can also regenerate form the seedbank.

Melaleuca – is derived from the Ancient Greek mélas (μέλας) meaning “dark” or “black” and leukós (λευκός) meaning “white”, apparently because one of the first specimens described had fire-blackened white bark.

bracteata – Latin referring to “bracts” – the modified leaf-like structures that sometimes surround or encase flowers. In this species they are prominent and noticeable. 

This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild. 

NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Melaleuca bracteata profile page            https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Melaleuca~bracteata

Gardening with Angus – Melaleuca bracteata ‘Revolution Gold’ profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/melaleuca-bracteata-revolution-gold-honey-myrtle/

Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants – Melaleuca bracteata profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/rainforest/text/entities/melaleuca_bracteata.htm

By Warren and Gloria Sheather