Melaleuca bracteata: Golden bottle brush

Family: Myrtaceae
Common name: Golden bottle brush, Black tea tree, River tea tree, Mock olive, Prickly leaved tea tree

Golden bottle brush trees are good ornamental trees for your garden because of their beautiful yellowish-green foliage. It can grow to a height of 6-10 meters as a small tree, with a bushy, well-branched crown. The bark is brown, rough and fissured.

Their drooping yellow branches look very beautiful with thin, pointy leaves that are 1-2 cms long and couple of millimeters wide. The pointy leaves are arranged very close to each other and looks like small bottle brushes.

The tree starts flowering when it’s quite small, with clusters of cylindrical white flowers, which are fragrant when crushed. The flowers contain both male and female reproductive organs, and are fertilized by birds, butterflies, bees and insects that visit the flowers for its nectar.

The flowers then form spherical fruits which are about 3 mm in diameter. Golden bottle brush trees need good sunlight, though they are capable of tolerating moderate shade. They are drought-tolerant, growing in arid, hilly areas.

They are closely related to Bottle brush tree or Callistemon citrinus, both having cylindrical bottlebrush like flowers. Bottle brush trees have deep red colored flowers, where as Golden bottle brush trees have white or cream colored flowers.

There are few cultivars of the Golden bottle brush tree called Revolution gold, Revolution green, and a dwarf variant called Golden gem.

The leaves of Golden bottle brush trees are used to produce an essential oil which is used in making perfumes, soaps and insecticides. The bark is quite sturdy and is used for making wooden posts or bridges.

Golden bottle brush trees can be showpieces for gardens and parks; shelter tree on roadsides or soil erosion preventing trees on hillsides. They can be pruned into desired shapes as hedges.

Propagation is from seeds or stem cuttings.

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