Common name: Saltwater Paperbark


Bristly cream coloured flowers are present at the ends of branches between September and November. Photo: C. Johansson.View image slideshow

Origin of Scientific Name

Melaleuca: Greek: melas, meaning black, and leukos, white, possibly alluding to the black trunk and white branches of some species.
cuticularis: Latin: cuticula (pertaining to the cuticle), referring to the numerous strips of skin-like bark coming away from the trunk and branches.


Originating in the coastal areas of the south west of Australia, Melaleuca cuticularis is a shrub or small tree that reaches 2.5 to 7 metres in height. Common around estuaries, lining creeks (both fresh and salt water), salt lakes and flood plains, it has an attractive architectural form once established with its twisted, sculptural branches.

The stems and trunk of this shrub have white papery bark, hence its common name. Bristly cream coloured flowers are present at the ends of branches between September and November, and, along with the trunk, make a vibrant contrast to the dark green foliage. Pruning is recommended so that the trunk and lower branches of Melaleuca cuticularis can be displayed.

Horticultural tips

  • Melaleuca cuticularis performs well in cultivation, preferring heavy, moist to wet soils, although it can withstand dry periods and a range of soil types.
  • This shrub likes a full sun or semi-shade position, and is useful for shelterbelt planting and for reclaiming salt-affected land.
  • Can be planted as a tall informal hedge and propagates readily from seed.

For more horticultural tips view our Plant Notes section.

View in Kings Park

Visit Kings Park to see Melaleuca cuticularis adjacent to the Kings Park Education building and opposite Peppermint Lawn within the Western Australian Botanic Garden (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 stems and trunk have white papery bark. Photo: D. Blumer. The cream coloured flowers make a vibrant contrast to the dark green foliage. Photo: C. Johansson. Once established, the Saltwater Paperbark has an attractive architectural form with its twisted, sculptural branches. Photo: D. Blumer.

Administration car park closure

There will be limited access to the BGPA Administration building and the Kings Park Education and Learning building from Wednesday 15 June 2022 for approximately 8 weeks, due to ongoing Water Corporation works.

Water Corporation works

The Water Corporation is replacing approximately 700 metres of ageing water pipes between Mount Eliza Reservoir and Bellevue Terrace in Kings Park.

Bold Park disruption

Banksia Carpark in Bold Park is currently closed to the public due to stormwater damage.

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The much-loved Kings Park Floral Clock has debuted a whole new look with a modern floral makeover from an exciting artist.

Fire Ecology Burn

Researchers and bushland staff at Kings Park successfully carried out a scientific research burn in a section of Kings Park bushland earlier this month. 

New innovative AR experience launched at Kings Park

A new locally developed augmented reality experience has been launched at Kings Park in time for families to enjoy during these school holidays.

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