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Common name: Chenille honeymyrtle

Family: MYRTACEAE

Flowering Chenille honeymyrtle in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. 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.

Huegelii: named after Baron Karl A.A. von Hügel, a German-born naturalist who visited the Swan River Colony and King George Sound in 1833.

Description

Melaleuca huegelii is a common coastal shrub that occurs naturally in soils over limestone from Geraldton to Augusta, with an isolated sub-species occurring at Shark Bay.

Like the majority of Melaleuca species, the chenille honeymyrtle has paper-like bark that peels naturally to give it a torn appearance. Its small and pointy aromatic leaves are densely arranged along the stem, often overlapping towards the growing point.

The most common subspecies produces small white bottlebrush flowers in profusion from pinkish-purple buds, while the Shark Bay subspecies flowers are a more striking pink to mauve colour. These flowers are arranged in dense terminal spikes approximately 10 cm long and appear in spring to summer. Seeds are then produced in clustered woody capsules that remain on the stem and open in response to fire.

Many variations of this species are cultivated, from prostrate forms to trees up to 5 m in height. The chenille honeymyrtle is an ideal small to medium shrub for the home garden and makes great screening plant that is popular with native birds and insects.

Horticultural tips

  • Easily propagated by seed in autumn and winter.
  • Best planted in full sun.
  • Can be grown in a range of soil types.
  • Drought and salt spray tolerant and moderately frost tolerant.
  • Prune after flowering to maintain compact growth.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park and Botanic Garden to see Melaleuca huegelii growing naturally in bushland on the Mount Eliza escarpment or around Reabold Hill in Bold Park (refer to map).

Want more information?

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

Melaleuca huegelii is a common coastal shrub that occurs naturally in soils over limestone. Photo: D. Blumer. The Chenille honeymyrtle can form trees up to 5 m in height. Photo: D. Blumer. The most common subspecies of Chenille honeymyrtle produces small white bottlebrush flowers from pinkish-purple buds. Photo: D. Blumer. Melaleuca huegelii flowers are arranged in dense spikes approximately 10 cm long and appear in spring to summer. Photo: D. Blumer.

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