Melaleuca lateritia

Robin Red-breast Bush

Family: Myrtaceae

Melaleuca lateritia, Robin Red-breast Bush, is an erect shrub that reaches a height of between one and two metres. Light green, aromatic, linear leaves are two centimetres long. The bottlebrush-shaped flower spikes are orange-red, up to nine centimetres long with the main flowering period in summer with some blooms appearing in autumn and early winter. The flower spikes are visited by honeyeaters.

Melaleuca lateritia is found in the southwest of Western Australia and is one of the most widely cultivated western species.

In the garden

The Robin Red-breast Bush has proved to be very hardy and free flowering. Occasional pruning will increase both foliage density and flowering.

Propagation

Propagate from seed and cuttings.

Other information

Melaleuca lateritia was named by Alfred Dietrich (1795–1856) in 1834. The location is listed as “Nova Hollandia”. As well as being a botanist, Dietrich was a skilled botanical illustrator.

The species name is from the Latin meaning brick red and refers to the flower colour.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather