|Derivation of Name:||Callistemon...from Greek kalos; beautiful and stemon; stamens|
|Conservation Status:||Not applicable.|
Callistemon "Captain Cook" is one of the most popular bottlebrush cultivars. It was widely promoted to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Captain James Cook's discovery of the east coast of Australian in 1770.
|Callistemon 'Captain Cook'
Photo: Brian Walters
The cultivar is a form of Callistemon viminalis which is normally a small tree with a weeping habit. C."Captain Cook", on the other hand, is a dense, bushy shrub 1.5 to 2 m tall by a similar spread. It has narrow leaves 50-60 mm long and produces masses of red brushes in mid to late spring (October to November). Flowers may also appear in late summer and autumn.
In common with many callistemons, C."Captain Cook" can tolerate less than perfect drainage but usually performs best in gardens with reasonable drainage and regular availability of water. It responds well to annual fertilising after flowering and is not as sensitive as some other Australian plants to phosphorus. It will withstand at least moderate frost and flowers best in a sunny position.
Like most Callistemon cultivars, C."Captain Cook" produces viable seed which germinates easily. However, because of seedling variation, any plants produced from this seed will not be identical to the parent plant. Unfortunately C."Captain Cook" suffered from this problem in the 1970s with the result that some plants did not retain the dwarf habit which is its main horticultural characteristic. This problem does not seem to affect plants purchased today from reliable sources. Plants produced from cuttings (which usually strike readily) will produce genetically identical plants to the parent.