Melaleuca nesophila

Common name: Showy Honey Myrtle

Family: MYRTACEAE

Melaleuca nesophyla has bristly flowers, flowering through spring and summer and when open initially they are a vibrant purple colour. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Melaleuca: Melas (Greek) – Black, and leucos (Greek) – white. Refers to the black trunk and white branches of some Asian based species.

nesophila: nesos – island (Greek), and phileo (Greek) – to love – island-loving. Referring to its original habitat on south coast islands.

Description

Native to the south-west coast of WA, Melaleuca nesophila occurs in well-drained soils but also grows well in heavier clay-loam soils. Given its coastal habitat, this medium to large shrub is tolerant of drought and salty winds. It has dense green foliage and grows up to 5 metres high and 4 metres wide in cultivation, making it an ideal dense screen plant.

Leaves are oblong, and fragrant oils are released when crushed. Bristly flowers, reminiscent of pompoms, burst open through spring and summer and when flowers open initially they are a vibrant purple colour. As blooms age, the colour tends to fade and change to various hues of pink, giving the plant the look of several different coloured flowers on the one shrub. Following the flowering period, a cluster of woody seed pods are retained.

Melaleuca nesophila is a wonderful food source for insects and nesting birds, with the flowers attracting all manner of nectar lovers.

Horticultural tips

  • Melaleuca nesophila is an excellent shrub to plant as a screen or windbreak, especially in coastal regions, responding well to pruning or hedging.
  • Can be grown in full sun or partial shade and benefits from mulching and a slow release native fertiliser.
  • A dwarf cultivar ’Little Nessie’ which has a more compact habit is available.
  • Propagates reliably from seed although selected forms require tip cutting propagation, which can be slow to form roots.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Melaleuca nesophila growing at the front of Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park, just near the pedestrian bike racks on May Drive (refer to map).

Want more information?

Refer to the profile for this plant on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' FloraBase online herbarium.

   As Melaleuca nesophyla blooms age, the colour tends to fade and change to various hues of pink. Photo: D. Blumer. Following the flowering period of Melaleuca nesophyla, a cluster of woody seed pods are retained. Photo: D. Blumer. Melaleuca nesophyla has dense green foliage and grows up to 5 metres high and 4 metres wide in cultivation, making it an ideal dense screen plant. Photo: D. Blumer. Melaleuca nesophila occurs in well-drained soils but also grows well in heavier clay-loam soils. Photo: D. Blumer.

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