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Common name: Scarlet Honeymyrtle

Family: MYRTACEAE

The Scarlet Honeymyrtle's flowers brush-like and usually scarlet coloured but variation can be found. Photo: D. Blumer.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Melaleuca: (Greek) from melas – black, and leucos – white; referring to the black trunk and white branches of some Asian species.

fulgens: (Latin) from fulgens – shining, bright coloured; referring to the bright flowers.

Description

Melaleuca fulgens, a native shrub of open habit, occurs naturally in gravelly soils and rocky granite areas in Southwest WA. Three subspecies are recognised in this species:

  • subsp. fulgens with a distribution from Paynes Find south and eastwards to the Great Victoria Desert and Israelite Bay;
  • subsp. steedmanii which has a restricted occurrence north of Geraldton; and
  • subsp. corrugata with a restricted occurrence near the Western Australia/Northern Territory/South Australia border.

Subsp. fulgens and steedmanii are common in cultivation where they have proved to be popular ornamental shrubs.

This species produces eye-catching displays of yellow-tipped, brush-like flowers that are usually scarlet coloured but variations of salmon, pink or purple can be found. The flowers are borne on lateral branches and form a prominent display. Flowering time depends on the subspecies; however, the two subspecies common in cultivation will generally flower from winter to summer.

The Scarlet Honeymyrtle can grow to a height of three metres with a very light, open structure and soft grey-green foliage made up of narrow, linear to lanceolate leaves of two to three centimetres in length. These leaves have an aromatic fragrance when crushed but the flowers and bird attraction are this plant’s most popular features.

Horticultural tips

  • Propagation is easy from seed and cuttings.
  • Best planted in late autumn or early winter in full-sun to part-shade.
  • Adaptable to most soil conditions, including heavy soils.
  • Tolerant of very dry conditions and at least moderate frost once established.
  • Responds to annual fertilising and light pruning after flowering to encourage bushy shape.
  • For more horticultural tips, view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Melaleuca fulgens planted in the garden beds along Forrest Drive below the DNA Tower, the Botanic Garden entrance opposite Aspects of Kings Park and at Lotterywest Family Area (refer to map).

Want more information?

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

The Scarlet Honeymyrtle grows with a light, open structure with soft grey-green foliage. Photo: D. Blumer. The Scarlet Honeymyrtle flowering in a garden bed with Kangaroo Paws and everlastings. Photo: D. Blumer. The eye-catching yellow-tipped, scarlet flowers give Melaleuca fulgens its common name of Scarlet Honeymyrtle. Photo: D. Blumer. A salmon coloured variant of Scarlet Honeymyrtle. Photo: D. Blumer.

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