Melaleuca leucadendra, Fam. Myrtaceae
Tall, straight tree with pendulous branchlets and foliage and a very white papery bark.
|Form or habit:||Large Tree|
Simple, alternate, glabrous, entire, lanceolate, about 10-20 x 1-2cm, weeping, line green with at least five longitudinal veins but the outermost pair are often obscure.
|Flower description:||'Loose' spikes of creamy white flowers, terminal or in upper leaf axils, strongly fragrant and reminiscent of baking biscuits or a brewery. Any month of the year but mostly winter.|
|Fruit description:||Sessile, thin walled, brown capsules, about 4-5mm in diameter. Any month of the year.|
|Habitat:||Coastal dune, gallery (riverine or riparian) forest, grassland, wetland.|
|Distribution||Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, New Guinea, Asia.|
|Food source for:||Nectar eaten by the rainbow and varied lorikeets, the helmeted, little and silver crowned friarbirds, the banded, bar breasted, blue faced, brown, brown backed, dusky, graceful, grey fronted, red headed, rufous banded, rufous throated, scarlet, singing, white gaped, white throated and yellow tinted honeyeaters and yellow throated miner. Flowers eaten by the black and little red flying foxes, little corella and rainbow lorikeet. Larval food plant of the cyane jewel butterfly.|
|Toxicity:||No toxicity known|
|Origin:||Australia, New Guinea, Asia.|
|Notes:||The flowers are very fragrant and full of nectar and can often be smelt for some distance. Grow from seed. Often grown as a street tree. Aborigines used the bark to make temporary food and water containers, shelters, fish traps, bandages, bedding and burial cylinders and for tinder. Nectar was sucked from the flowers or used to make a sweet drink by soaking the flowers in water. Leaves were used to flavour cooking and to make infusions or preparations that were drunk, inhaled or applied externally to treat coughs, colds, headache and general sickness. An infusion made from the inner bark was drunk or applied externally to treat similar afflictions as well as backache. Bark is sometimes used to line hanging baskets. Timber is pink grey, tough, durable in water and in the ground and contains a high silica content.|
|Information sources:||Melzer R. & Plumb J. (2007) Plants of Capricornia.|