Melaleuca nesophila

Showy Honey-myrtle

Family: Myrtaceae

Melaleuca nesophila is known as the Showy Honey-myrtle and will usually develop into a tall shrub or small tree.

In our cold climate garden plants have reached a height of three metres in more than ten years. Plants are upright, stiff with grayish, papery bark.

Leaves are elliptical, up to two centimetres long and bright green. Flowers are held in globular, terminal heads up to three centimetres across. Blooms are mauve-purple with yellow anthers and are both conspicuous and profuse. Flowering extends from late spring to midsummer. Flowers are followed by fused, globular capsules (see thumbnail). 

Melaleuca nesophila is found on the south coast of Western Australia. The species was first found on an island off the Western Australian coast.

In the garden

This species is a desired melaleuca in the garden and is very hardy. It will grow best in full sun to part-shade and it is very attarctive when flowering. It is useful for enhancing habitat values and attarcting insects and birds. It grows very successfully on the east coast. 

It can tolerate frost and dry conditions. Best grown on a well-drained soil. 

Prune lightly after flowering to avoid plants becoming straggly.

Melaleuca nesophila is cultivated as a street tree. Some years ago, we came across specimens growing along the streets of Echuca, northern Victoria.


Propagate from seed and cuttings.

Other information

Most melaleucas can regenerate from epicormic shoots and suckering/coppicing growth after fire, as well as from the seed bank.

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.

nesophila – rooted in Ancient Greek, Neso (Νησώ) – an Island Goddess; Modern Greek nisi (νησί) – meaning “island” – and philos meaning “love” – referring to the island habitat where it was first discovered. 

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

Australian National Botanic Gardens – Melaleuca nesophila profile page    https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/interns-2012/melaleuca-nesophila.html

Gardening with Angus – Melaleuca nesophila profile page https://www.gardeningwithangus.com.au/melaleuca-nesophila-honey-myrtle/

Western Australian Herbarium. Florabase – the Western Australian Flora –                                        Melaleuca nesophila profile page                                    https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/browse/profile/5943

Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.

By Warren and Gloria Sheather